As part of the new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) which was introduced back in May 2018, WhatsApp will now stop anyone under the age of 16 from using the app, as part of special measures on processing of personal data belonging to a child.
The messaging service confirmed that this was to be rolled out across Europe as part of the regulations. If you live in any other country apart from those in Europe, you must be at least 13 years old to use the app.
WhatsApp currently has over 1.5 billion daily users around the world and is popular with youngsters as it is secured by end-to-end encryption which means that no one, not even WhatsApp, can read or listen to your messages.
Children have access to technology and the internet (as well as apps) frequently in everyday life. No one rule or regulation is, therefore, going to stop 100% of youngsters using social media sites before the legal age if there is a willingness to do so on their part. In fact, worryingly the NSPCC has claimed that half of children aged 12 have social media accounts, despite the current legal age is set at 13 years.
Although providers like WhatsApp have a huge responsibility to ensure young people do not access their app before the legal age, responsibility also surely has to fall on both parents and caregivers, as well as educational establishments, to ensure wherever possible the rights and safety of these young people are protected.
According to research by broadband expert uSwitch.com, children as young as four are potentially being exposed to inappropriate content online because they are using the internet unsupervised. This does pose the question as to why parents are potentially exposing their children to content that is not safe. Is it a lack of education, a lack of understanding, or another reason?
Social media usage seems to be gaining pace. We know children want to be on these sites. And it is in fact sometimes necessary in this day and age to have a social media account (for example when trying to contact the customer service teams of internet-based shops) so it is vital everyone pulls together to ensure safety.
Whilst there are no guarantees over what children are searching for on iPads and tablets in schools, there are ways in which schools can ensure tablets are stored safely away from inquisitive hands when they are not supposed to be in use outside of classroom time.
The FUYL Tower is an appropriate Charging Tower Station for this need, designed to individually store, charge and secure almost any mobile device – including tablets, laptops, mobile phones and more. Through a simple and easy to use secure digital locking system, a school can secure their tablets until they need to use them. We have found the FUYL Towers work especially well for restricting device access in boarding schools. With the FUYL Tower charging stations, students only have access to their tablets during times set by the school.
The FUYL Tower is made up of 15 compartments that throughout a typical day can service up to 100 children. The children enter a four-digit PIN from the digital keypad, and the FUYL Tower will automatically allocate an available compartment which they can use to store and charge the device.
Where the FUYL Tower becomes unique is in what it can do ‘behind the scenes’. Staff members have control of remote access admin, where they have the opportunity to see how many locker compartments are occupied or available in real-time. Staff can unlock compartments from a remote location or use the ‘master override’ options to control the FUYL Tower both on-site and off-site, safely and securely. It also provides a full audit trail and time-stamped events.
This can offer a level of device management with children that does not hinder their learning capabilities or restrict them to being unable to use technology at all.
In fact, all of the carts that LocknCharge manufacture can be securely locked for peace of mind. LocknCharge can help with solutions to problems within your school with device management so please contact us with your query www.lockncharge.com.