Today I received my daughter’s Pre-School’s mobile phone policy. I think it is fairly standard since the child abuse case at Little Ted’s Nursery in Plymouth.
The policy states that anyone working/helping at the pre-school must keep their mobile phones in a locker. Also that parents must not use a mobile phone on the premises and have to leave the pre-school room if they wish to answer the phone.
I clearly understand why such policies have become commonplace and agree that we need to protect children from harm. However, there is a big part of me that feels that the world is going mad. Of course I wouldn’t want lots of photographs of my child on a personal phone, but what is the likelihood that a nursery worker would take inappropriate photos? In my experience taking photographs of children is an important part of sharing with parents what their children are doing and in documenting their learning.
My eldest daughter went to a different childminder for a day when she was 2. When I arrived to collect her the childminder presented me with a sheet of photographs of all the things she had done that day. This was so reassuring for me as she had been in an unfamiliar place. How much better would that have been had she been able to send me pictures throughout the day?
I agree that there need to be clear guidelines about how photographs of children are used but wouldn’t it be better to have one pre-school/nursery phone that can be used in this way under the supervision of senior staff?
It could be argued that on modern mobile phones it is very easy to post photographs on the internet, something most parents wouldn’t be comfortable with. However isn’t this also true if we go to any public place with our children? There will always be other parents taking photographs of their children and our own children may incidentally appear within them. Those photographs could very easily appear on the internet, so will mobile phone photography be banned in public places in the future?
I am not saying that we shouldn’t be making childcare provision as safe as possible for children. We do however need to look at the whole picture. As mobile technology evolves there may be a whole manner of benefits and experiences that children and their childcare settings will miss out on if they are banned completely. Safety is a huge consideration but is the only option banning it completely?
I’d be interested to know what others think from both a childcare and parental perspective.