Safe and responsible use of mobile technology in schools: guidance

Advice for schools and local authorities on how to develop policies that encourage safe and responsible use of personal mobile technology in


What do we mean by 'safe and responsible use of mobile technology'?

11. For children and young people, the internet is a place, not a thing. It's a social space where they can hang out and meet friends. Like any place that children and young people go, there are benefits and risks. We wouldn't expect children and young people to behave appropriately without guidance from adults in any other context.

12. Children and young people need to understand that unacceptable behaviour remains unacceptable whether it occurs in an online environment, the playground, the classroom or anywhere else. Expectations for responsible conduct remain consistent, regardless of the context, and any breach of expectations in relation to mobile technology should be treated in accordance with the school's behaviour policies. It is expected that staff will respond consistently to any irresponsible use of mobile technology and will explain to children why certain behaviours are unacceptable, and what the potential impact of such behaviours might be.

13. In line with this, policies on mobile technology must be rooted within existing positive relationships and behaviour policies, which will already set out how incidents will be dealt with. New policies must also be consistent with existing IT codes of conduct and must reference health and safety for staff and children and young people.

14. In order to promote digital citizenship, schools should consider how they will deliver learning and teaching about online behaviour and relationships. The key principles of digital citizenship that have an impact on use of mobile devices in schools include:

  • digital etiquette (standards of conduct when using mobile devices);
  • digital rights and responsibilities (what people can do if they feel uncomfortable with digital communication and how they can report misuse); and
  • digital security (precautions that can be taken to ensure digital safety).

15. This learning links well to work going on in schools in developing responsible and global citizens, recognising and respecting children's rights, creating an anti-bullying culture and raising awareness of digital and online safety. This learning can be delivered through the Curriculum for Excellence and in particular through the Health and Wellbeing experiences and outcomes:

"The mental, emotional, social and physical wellbeing of everyone within a learning community should be positively developed by fostering a safe, caring, supportive, purposeful environment that enables the development of relationships based on mutual respect."
( Curriculum for Excellence: Health and Wellbeing. Experiences and Outcomes)

16. Staff, pupil and parental confidence in the safe and responsible use of mobile technology in schools will lay the foundations for schools to confidently embrace technology as another learning tool in the future.


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