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Children filming TikTok videos at school could be excluded, councils warn

08 Nov 2021 3 minute read
Photo by bantersnaps on Unsplash.

Richard Evans, local democracy reporter

Children in Conwy and Denbighshire could be excluded from secondary schools if they film TikTok videos in the school yard or classroom.

And both Conwy and Denbighshire county councils have now sent letters to parents warning North Wales Police could be involved in extreme circumstances.

The warning follows several worrying TikTok monthly trends challenging pupils to complete inappropriate and – in some cases – illegal behaviour.

Reported hash-tagged trends include ‘vandalise the school bathrooms’ in September, ‘slap a teacher’ in October and ‘deck the halls and show your b***s’ for December.

Other children have been setting up fake school TikTok accounts and posting inappropriate videos.

Cllr Huw Hilditch-Roberts is the cabinet member for Denbighshire and explained.

“There is a national trend, and therefore we are concerned, and these national trends – like the ice bucket challenge – do gain momentum, and we want to make sure and ask parents to check if children are on TikTok that they are the legal age to be on it,” he said.

“And obviously we understand that children engage with social media, but we don’t want anybody else to suffer on the back of it.

“I’m aware the September and October challenges were ‘vandalise the school bathrooms’ and ‘smack a staff member’, which is not acceptable, and that’s why in some instances North Wales Police could be involved.

“We are supporting our secondary schools and also highlighting to junior schools that children as young as seven shouldn’t be on TikTok. Safeguarding children is really important in Denbighshire.”

‘Not appropriate’ 

Cllr Julie Fallon, the cabinet member for education in Conwy, said: “Obviously it is not appropriate to record people without their knowledge, and if that is the kind of thing that’s happening, I support schools in addressing that.

“Social media is an ongoing issue for society. I’m grateful I grew up when I didn’t have a mobile phone and social media wasn’t an issue. It does need to be addressed, probably by the providers themselves. I support the schools approaching things in a measured manner to ensure the safety of their pupils and staff.”

The school letter reads: “It has come to our attention that some learners in our secondary schools have been making short films and uploading them on the TikTok app whilst in school.

“Please be reminded that pupils are not permitted to film on school premises without permission. The local authority has asked schools to remind pupils that learners are not allowed to upload unauthorised short films in the name of their school.

“In all cases, we have asked schools to consider appropriate sanctions for those learners who have filmed and uploaded inappropriate material involving school staff and pupils whilst on school premises. Possible sanctions include external exclusion and may in extreme situations involve North Wales Police.

“We ask kindly that parents and guardians discuss this issue with their children and emphasise the above message. Please check your children’s mobile phones / social media accounts to ensure any relevant videos have been deleted. Schools will continue to monitor social media, including TikTok over the next few days and weeks and take the necessary action.”

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