ORANGE students under 13 are signing up to Facebook and parents are not monitoring their child’s social media usage, according to Orange school principals.
Orange Anglican Grammar School principal Ann Brown said it was important parents took an active role in educating their children about social media pitfalls.
“It is a necessary communication tool for teenagers but it doesn’t always happen positively,” she said.
“When it is abused that’s when problems start.”
Students in Orange cannot access social media while at school but it’s what happens outside of school hours that might be a problem.
Mrs Brown said she was against children under 13 signing up to Facebook because they lacked the knowledge about how to protect themselves online.
“Children that young don’t necessarily know what they shouldn’t be putting online like surnames, addresses and telephone numbers,” she said.
Catherine McAuley Catholic Primary School principal Michael Croke said social media could be a useful tool but needed to be used in moderation.
“We talk with our students about Facebook and basically if you can’t say it to your parents then you shouldn’t write it,” Mr Croke said.
Calare Public School principal Christian Cundy said the school took social media usage seriously.
Mr Cundy said the school would be launching its own Facebook page as a way to positively engage with parents.
“Facebook isn’t going anywhere, it’s the way of the future and it’s important to engage with the medium in a positive way,” he said.
Mr Cundy said parents and students would be required to read and sign an E-Safety agreement that details correct and appropriate use of social media.
“It is important we communicate with parents and children before we go live with the Facebook page,” he said.
“Children need to know the consequences of what they do and say.”
Orange Anglican Grammar School will hold an information session about cyber safety for parents on June 13.