Andrea Knight, Principal

Kia ora whānau

Digital safety is of increasing concern to us as inappropriate use of devices impacts on students’ relationships, learning and wellbeing.  

A reminder that while Heaton students are able to bring their cell phones to school, they must be switched off during the school day.  Please do not expect to be able to contact your child on their cell phone during this time.  Please phone the office if you need to urgently communicate with your child. This protocol is in place to ensure the safety of your child and the safety of others in the school. In particular the prevention of inappropriate messages or photos being sent. We also want our students to be involved in non digital activities at break times for their health and wellbeing. 

Please refer to our Cyber Safety agreement that you and your child have signed.

Much of the information written below has come from a recent St Albans School newsletter with their permission.

Many students are using apps and playing on-line games that are not suitable for their age and stage of development outside of school.  Here at Heaton we have a number of protocols put in place to protect your children, however, some students are accessing digital content that is of concern.  Here are the age restrictions for some of the apps and sites students are accessing:

  • Snapchat – has a minimum age requirement of 13 years old, and users who enter a date of birth under 13 can’t set up an account.  Unfortunately, it’s easy to circumvent this by using a fake date of birth and as with Facebook the service has no way of checking. 
  • Facebook – as above with Snapchat – same age rules apply. 
  • Instagram – requires everyone to be at least 13 years old before they can create an account.  If your child is younger than 13 and has created an account on Instagram, you can show them how to delete their account.
  • Roblox – offers parental controls that allow for a selection of chat options (no chat, chat with friends, chat with everyone), an account PIN code feature and an Account Restrictions setting that only allows children under 13 to access a curated list of age-appropriate games.
  • Minecraft – has been rated as suitable for 7+ up to 13+ depending on which version of the game you are playing.  Children aren’t asked for proof of age when they sign up.
  • Fortnite – Battle Royale – has a PEGI rating of 12, PEGI have said this is due to the “frequent scenes of mild violence.  It is not suitable for persons under 12 years of age”

Seven Tips to Help You (

The following tips are designed to enhance your digital parenting knowledge and have been developed with parents in mind.

  • Understand: Read about the potential online risks, challenges and sometimes illegal behaviour young people face to understand what may happen
  • Learn: Ask your child about what they do, how they use devices and who they talk to, to learn about their activities.  Check in regularly to see what has changed
  • Explore: Take the time yourself to explore the sites, apps and technologies your child uses to improve your knowledge and understand their experience
  • Agree: Create a family code with your child to agree on what they can do online including sites to visit, appropriate behaviours, privacy settings and limits
  • Start: Recognise each child has unique needs, but some online safety concepts are universal.  Start by teaching yours the five tips to help your child thrive, which can be found at:
  • Model: Be a good example to your child.  Make sure you role model the sort of behaviours you want to see your child use online and offline
  • Plan: Make a plan so everybody knows what to do if something goes wrong and where you will be able to get advice and support in challenging times.

Ngā mihi

Andrea Knight, Principal

By Office @ Heaton