Year 6 Whatsapp

Dear Year 6 Parents & Carers,

Your children are having a great time at PGL and their behaviour all week, including the Box Hill and cinema trips has been fantastic.

However, a really serious issue has come to light in their absence and we need to work together to deal with it. It has come to my attention that there are huge numbers of messages being exchanged on Whatsapp. On the phone that was shared with me, there were over 1,000 in a 48 hour period across several groups, some with many children in the year group and some with smaller groups. Clearly the volume of messages in itself is an issue, but sadly it’s not the biggest issue.

  • Many of the messages are offensive, with lots of swearing, violent references, references to class A drugs and some racist / homophobic / xenophobic content.
  • Messages are often being sent after 11pm, even on school nights, and sometimes in the middle of the night (2-3am etc)
  • Administrators within the group frequently removing people from groups without apparent reason. It certainly appears that there is an element of bullying when this happens based on the chats I’ve seen.
  • Groups being set up specifically to discuss other children in the class in a negative way.

The group ‘Year 6’ is the most offensive group that I’ve seen so far, but after several hours of scrolling, I’ve only managed to review a small portion of the content. I can see that there are other smaller groups involving pupils from Year 6 STB, all with equally inappropriate content so please make every effort to check all groups to make sure that, if your child is using Whatsapp (which has an age rating of 16) that they are doing it safely and sensibly.

Remember, it is your right and your responsibility to check your child’s phone regularly to ensure they are using it appropriately. It is clear to me, having looked at some of the conversations on Whatsapp, that many pupils in Year 6 are not yet ready for this privilege.

I am aware that many of your children don’t have phones, and many that do use them in a very responsible way. I am in no way saying this is a year-group-wide problem. However, with 36 Year 6 pupils on such an inappropriate group, I thought it best to communicate to the whole year group so that you are all aware of the potential dangers.

Yours faithfully,

Diarmuid Skehan