The pressures that are placed on parents these days are mind-boggling!
The teaching of morals and values, doing things to make their children ‘normal’ in their friends’ eyes, creating opportunities to allow for their children’s growth through sport, community work and education, putting out ‘spot fires’ and sometimes ‘wildfires’ in their children’s lives. The list goes on and on. Many parents grapple now with what is ‘normal’ and may wonder what they should allow their children to do in comparison to what other people’s children are doing, particularly when they believe some of these things are questionable. Does a child deserve privacy when using social devices and apps?
In the past week or so, I had a few discussions with parents about the social media app TikTok. The main issue at the moment with TikTok is not what we actually know about the app, but rather what we don’t know. Rumours (or otherwise) of hacking, personal information stealing, accessing aspects of a user’s digital footprint without permission are some of the issues being raised. Another question of concern is what is the real appropriate age for users? Here’s what we do know!
Musical.ly emerged in 2014 and quickly garnered hundreds of millions of users from all around the world. The idea behind the app was simple: users – often young children and ‘tweens’ – would film themselves lip-syncing their favourite new songs, and then share the footage with the world. After enormous success, Musical.ly has been bought by the Chinese development company Bytedance, who have now moved all users over to a similar platform of their own: TikTok.
First and foremost, parents and guardians of children who use this application should view this as a warning about the very nature of the companies behind some of our favourite online platforms. Users are a valuable commodity, and are now, as was proven by the acquisition of Musical.ly, being bought and sold in deals reportedly worth up to $1 billion USD. Secondly, now with over 100 million active users, it’s possible that the children in your care could have been using Musical.ly, have now been migrated across to TikTok (or have simply downloaded TikTok to use since the acquisition a few months ago). It’s important to understand this new app, to ensure you know what is going on, and that your children are safe.
There are many opportunities on the internet for entertainment and social interaction for children and teens. After looking into the scandals behind Musical.ly, and the new and uncertain nature of TikTok, we cannot in good faith recommend that this app be used by teens or children.
The app developers do claim that the application is only suitable for users over the age of 16, and we support this age rating strongly.
Parents are strongly advised to;
- Discuss social media sites and their benefits, damages and safe usage with their children
- Visit SchoolTV on the School’s website for helpful ideas and information about social media
- Visit the eSafety Commissioner website for further information about social media sites
If your children do use social media apps, you should be their first friend listed!
Weekend use of the School’s grounds and assets
As parents of the School, you know that the School’s Board and Administration have clearly stated that parents have been requested not to enter the School’s grounds beyond the car park (please see the Principal’s earlier article outlining what is and isn’t allowed with our COVID19 safe school restrictions). I have noticed a sharp increase in community usage of the oval on weekends. Whilst most use it respectfully for personal exercise, others are abusing the School’s most publicly noticed asset. The students, staff and parents work hard to maintain the professional image of the School. I work on a saying “first impression isn’t anything, it’s everything!” Damage by people practising golf, dog droppings to be cleaned up by physical education staff prior to student usage, vandalism to School furniture and fixtures and litter left by users. These people are trespassing on the School’s grounds and do not have permission to use the facilities.
Each Friday the goal post pads and recreation tables and chairs are removed and stored in Raelene Boyle Hall. On top of the already very obvious perimeter fencing signs, I shall now place signs on the actual oval each weekend advising the oval is not to be used.
I now ask for the School community assistance to reduce the use of and potential damage done to the oval on the weekends. If you witness people using the oval could you, please ring my mobile phone? Peter McMahon - 0448 277 789, so that I can come down and ask those people to leave the School’s grounds.
Remember to think about hygiene and of others this week. Go gently.
Head of Students, Physical Education and Outdoor Education.