Safe Mobile Phone Use for Out of School Clubs

Apart from being an integral part of our personal lives, mobile phones and internet-enabled devices have now become a piece of necessary equipment for educational settings. With many out of school clubs operating out of community centres and places with no access to landlines, mobile phones often become their sole means of contact. Similarly, in some clubs, smartphones are used in place of tablets at attendance kiosks for sign-in outs or for other administrative management.

However, to prevent the chances of misuse, providers must have clear regulations in place regarding the safe and acceptable use of mobile phones within their setting.

Although there is no statutory requirement for out of school clubs in England to maintain a separate Mobile Phone or Social Media policy (in addition to the mandatory Safeguarding Policy), the Scottish Out of School Network (SOSCN) recommends all out of school clubs should have a comprehensive social media and mobile use policy. This is important to:

  • Safeguard children from harm, abuse and bullying
  • Protect staff, volunteers and students from false allegations
  • Prevent staff from getting distracted from their duties
  • Create a transparent working environment

Moreover, irrespective of regional differences, it is generally good practice for all clubs to maintain a Mobile Phone Policy to substantiate to staff, visitors and children in case there is a dispute regarding the circumstance where they can use their mobile phones. Check out the Out of School Alliance for a downloadable template for

Here’s a look at some of the other working practices to ensure safe and responsible use of mobile phones at your setting.

Safe Working Practice for Staff

  • Provide lockers/a specific location for staff to keep their personal phones during working hours.
  • If a staff member needs to make an urgent personal call, make sure you provide clear instructions on your policy to use the designated club phone or use their mobile phone in a permitted area such as the staff room or kitchen.
  • Ensure the staff members seek prior permission from the manager if they need to keep their mobile phone with them due to any personal emergency
  • Make sure the staff do not access their personal social media accounts during work hours, and any social media access at work is restricted to that of the club’s official accounts
  • Set out clear regulations prohibiting the staff from taking pictures or videos of children using their personal phones at the club, during working hours

Guidelines for Children, Parents and Visitors

  • If you allow children to keep phones with them to communicate with their parents, ensure
  • Request parents or visitor to sign and leave their phones in a safe place at the reception if you are taking them on a tour of your setting
  • Make sure your post signs at the entrance/reception asking all parents and visitors not to use their mobile phones or other devices to photograph or record any children on your club premises. If a parent wishes to get a photograph of their child during an activity or play, direct them to ask a member of your staff to take one using a designated club phone or camera.

 

For more information regarding UK regulations for mobile phone use in out of school clubs, please visit:

OOSA, England

SOSCN, Scotland

Clybiau Plant Cymru, Wales

Playboard NI, Northern Ireland

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You might also like:

 The Dos and Don’ts of Online Safety for Early Years  >View Article

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