Mobile Phones in Nursery

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.

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5 thoughts on “Mobile Phones in Nursery”

  1. I think the whole thing has gone crazy because of that case. Our local children’s centre has banned the use of mobile phones and cameras by parents/carers which means that people are missing out on photos of their children enjoying the activities. There is allegedly a childrens centre camera available but I can’t see how anyone would get the photos of their child back on a regular basis without it being an administrative nightmare. I can understand rules on staff not using phones but if a parent/grandparent/childminder/nanny wanted to take inappropriate photos of children in their care I’m sure the children’s centre would be the last place they would do it. I’m beginning to think child safeguarding is the new health and safety in its being used as an excuse got things.

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  2. It’s so sad. There was a case not long ago of police being called to a shopping centre near me – because a Dad was taking pictures on his phone of his daughter. They said it was a security threat. The world has gone mad.
    I don’t think nursery staff all need to carry mobile phones anyway. They shouldn’t be using their phones during working hours. But it would be good to have one nursery camera/phone which was used at certain times of the day to record what the kids are doing. And someone senior could be in charge of sending them to parents or printing them off for them.
    Instead of banning cameras etc I’m sure it makes more sense just to be extra vigilant of adults who are displaying inappropriate behaviour or being a little too attentive towards certain children.

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  3. I don’t get it. Aren’t the teachers still using cameras to take photos of the children for their profiles? My child has just started reception and already I’ve seen a profile with several pictures of him. We were also given one at the end of pre-school.

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  4. Ok, got it. Sorry, was a bit confused by Donna’s comments.
    Anyway, I agree, it’s crazy, and contributes to a general attitude of paranoia that makes parents scared to let kids out of their sight compared to a few decades ago.

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