Why Can’t I Go To School?

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Posted by: Sue Atkins

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Show notes:

In this episode:

Why Can’t I Go To School?

My 12-year-old son lied about his age to get a Facebook account. What punishment should I do?

How Do I Cope With School Closures and Homeschooling?


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Another Lockdown!

A new wave of the virus has thrown families, schools, teachers, and parents into chaos as one-minute schools are staying open, then London schools are not, then maybe the whole of the UK schools will be closed.

Uncertain and chaotic times.

Explain what coronavirus is using simple words to a young child: “You know what it’s like to have a cold or the flu — how sometimes you get a cough or have a fever? The coronavirus is a bit like that.

Reassure that most people who have COVID-19 stay at home, rest, and get better. Some people who have the virus can get very sick and need more help, sometimes from doctors and nurses.

Explain that it is important for us to stay at home to protect our older family members, neighbours, friends, and community – this is why schools are closed – to keep us all safe at home.

Answer questions:

Ask children what they already know and if they have any questions. Listen carefully to children’s fears and gently correct any misunderstandings they might have.

Although it can be overwhelming, it is important to answer your child’s questions about the virus. Be as honest as you can be, and if you don’t know the answer, say so.

Tell children you will let them know as soon as you have more information about schools reopening.

Tell children that it is common to feel confused or afraid – tell them that you are there to protect and help them.

Don’t make false promises, for example about people not getting ill.

More really loads of practical tips on my blog about well-being & mental health support for children during this extra blow

Why Can’t I Go To School

How Do I Cope With School Closures and Homeschooling?


Some 7.5 million of the 20 million minors who used Facebook in the past year were younger than 13, and a million of them were bullied, harassed, or threatened on the site, says a study released recently.

Even more troubling, more than five million Facebook users were 10 years old or younger, and they were allowed to use Facebook largely without parental supervision leaving them vulnerable to threats ranging from malware to sexual predators.

As to the existing age limit, I believe that allowing a child under the age of 13 to open an account on Facebook is very risky. It is absolutely inconceivable that a pre-teen would have the ability or patience to go through the existing maze of settings to be able to make their Facebook account private enough to ensure protection from unwanted approaches, spam, and exploitation of their personal pictures and content.

Side-stepping the age limit is simple & too easy. No proof of age is required, and Facebook doesn’t seem fussed at enforcing its own rules. So, the rule can really only be considered a guideline.

If you, as a parent, decide to allow your under-13-year-old child on Facebook, and clearly many parents do, I think you have to be able to answer a resounding “yes” to the questions below. And even these aren’t failsafe.

  • Do you know how to tick all the privacy settings needed for a high level of privacy on Facebook?
  • Do you keep up to date with all the changes that Facebook makes with its privacy settings? These are usually opt-out rather than opt-in, and there are regularly hidden changes.
  • Are you prepared to have a Facebook account yourself and “friend” your own child?
  • Will your child allow you to “friend” them? Note: It is very easy and more common than you think for children to have two separate accounts. I’ve seen them often during the course of my own research for my cyber safety classes for parents: one “clean” account for Mum and Dad, and one where they can let loose!
  • Do you understand how to help your child avert bullying online, and how they should best respond if bullied? Do you know where the “block” button is?
  • Can you honestly say you are sure of what your child is experiencing and is exposed to online? Studies show that many children are simply not telling their parents or carers if they are bullied or experience an unwanted approach because they are afraid of being banned from access to the internet and their social networks

Australian Psychologist, Dr. Sophie Reid on ABC Life Matters radio show. It was entitled, “Parental Control Of Facebook” and saw Dr. Reid suggest that rather than over-regulate Facebook, parents needed to be far more involved, educated and open in their discussions with their children about it.

So, it’s about being your child’s PARENT not their friend – talking & teaching them about HOW to use it & stay SAFE & maybe looking into their school using GoBubble a safe alternative & NOT letting them badger you into letting them have an account

It’s lockdown but real friends can Zoom, WhatsApp & Skype or even phone!

The Sue Atkins Appropriate Age and Stage Screen Time Checklist

Not all screen time is created equal.

It’s up to YOU to decide how (and how often) your child or teenager uses screens and whether their screen time is positive or negative. For instance, time spent on homework or other educational activities might not need to be as restricted as time spent playing video games.

In this Guide we look at kids of all ages, and how / why screen time should not replace time needed for sleeping, eating, being active, studying, and interacting with family and friends.


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