Juggling eSafety and wellbeing is no joke

Helen MarksAs police forces across the UK issue statements and social media buzzes with new sightings of clowns the ‘Killer Clown’ craze has gained momentum in recent weeks.

Originating in America, after unsubstantiated reports of clowns spotted trying to lure children into the woods in August, these sightings have ignited a national and international phenomenon.

While big companies such as Amazon are making a killing with clown costumes topping their fancy dress sales, parents are increasingly concerned for their children on their journey to school.

Reports of a masked man carrying a knife left a group of children aged 11 and 12 "upset and distressed" when he jumped out on their way to the Hermitage Academy in Chester-le-Street, County Durham, on Friday (7th October)

While thinking about keeping children safe in public it’s also a time to think about keeping your children safe online. Parents are reporting that their children are scared to walk to school and fearful of playing outside after finding out about the craze and reading about sightings online.

A recent post in Swindon of a clown sighting was shared over 1,000 times in just a few hours. If your child is online and using the various social media platforms, then it would be difficult for them to avoid these scaremongering posts.

Even with minimum ages on social media sites, your child can still be in a position to view content that they’re not comfortable with. 

A report published by The London School of Economics and Political Science states that:

  • 13% of UK 9-16 year olds say they have been bothered or upset by something online in the past year
  • 23% of 11 and 12 year olds with a social networking site profile say they have been upset by something on it over the last year
  • 8% of these felt upset or scared for weeks or months after the incident occurred

There are some simple steps you can take to ensure your child is using social media responsibly and avoiding disturbing posts.

Perry Perrott, Head of Education, BCS says:

‘Young people should be shown the positive side to social media. Lessons should not take the approach of look how scary the internet is, but focus on how awesome it is and how productive you can be using it. And within that to teach that they need to remember to use it carefully and responsibly.

It's a shared responsibility and if schools have regular and open communication with families then it can help to ensure that messages are consistent”

Read more about e-safety in schools and learn how it forms part of the curriculum

About the author
Helen Marks works in Marketing for BCS. With a background in newspapers and publishing she enjoys writing about current trends and takes a keen interest in social media and the impact it has in today’s digital world.

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