Kowhai Intermediate in Auckland school is asking its students not to have any social media accounts until high school.
The school has introduced a voluntary code in which students commit to leaving their mobile phones at home and not to have any social media accounts during the two years that they are studying at the school.
According to Board of Trustees chair Wade Gillooly, social media had intruded on teaching and learning, and the code was “a proactive stance so that we can nip it in the bud and help our parents make a firm policy decision with their kids at home”.
Mr Gillooly said the no social media policy was to “encourage kids to have real conversations with each other in the school playground and establish formal friendships and bonds that are personal face-to-face”.
Social media, by contrast, increased the likelihood of bullying, sexting, and other “unsavoury” things.
Last year, several social media incidents had occurred outside of school hours, and while the school had no control over these, parents would often contact the school to deal with it.
Many hours of staff time had been used investigating these incidents, distracting teachers from their core job of teaching. The voluntary code had therefore been well received by parents, Mr Gillooly said.
Although the legal age for setting up social media accounts was 13, the school had noted that children were under increasing pressures to do so.