Policy: Mobile Phone & Electronic Devise Use

IN this article, we're reviewing what we use electronic devices for in the setting and how we can control the risk of personal devices and smart phones being used for safeguarding breach...

Mobile Phone and Electronic Device Use

This policy refers to all electronic devices able to take pictures, record videos, send or receive calls and messages. This includes cameras, mobile telephones, tablets and any recording devices including smartwatches. More and more devices are technically, capable of connecting us to the outside world. We will adapt the policy to include all devices we deem required to safeguard children. It must be read in conjunction with our Device Management Protocols

Mobile phones and other devices that accept calls, messages and video calling

At Hatching Dragons we promote the safety and welfare of all children in our care. We believe our staff should be completely attentive during their hours of working to ensure all children in the nursery receive good quality care and education. To ensure the safety and well-being of children we do not allow staff to use personal mobile phones, smartwatches and/or fitbits during working hours.

We use mobile phones supplied by the nursery to provide a means of contact in certain circumstances, such as outings. This policy should be used in conjunction with our online safety policy to ensure children are kept safe when using the nursery devices online.

Mobile Phone / E-safety Procedures

  • Mobile phones/smartwatches/fitbits are either turned off or on silent and not accessed during your working hours and must be signed into the lock box in the manager's office at the start of their shift 
  • Mobile phones/smartwatches/fitbits can only be used on a designated break and then this must be away from the children and must be signed out of the lock box during break and signed back in after break
  • Mobile phones must be collected at the end of the working shift only. Staff who take out their phone during working hours (e.g. before children arrive or after they leave but during their shift) will receive an automatic final written warning
  • The use of nursery devices, such as tablets, must only be used for nursery purposes
  • The nursery devices will not have any social media or messaging apps on them
  • Any apps downloaded onto nursery devices must be done only by management. This will ensure only age appropriate and safe apps will be accessible to staff or children using them
  • Passwords / passcodes for nursery devices must not be shared or written down
  • During outings, staff will use mobile phones belonging to the nursery wherever possible. Photographs must not be taken of the children on any personal phones or any other personal information storage device. Only nursery owned devices will be used to take photographs or film videos
  • Nursery devices will not be taken home with staff and will remain secure at the setting when not in use. If a device is needed to be taken home due to unforeseen circumstances then the person taking this device home must ensure it is securely stored and not accessed by another other individual and returned to nursery as soon as practically possible

Parents’ and visitors’ use of mobile phones and smartwatches

Whilst we recognise that there may be emergency situations which necessitate the use of a mobile telephone, in order to ensure the safety and welfare of children in our care and share information about the child’s day.  However parents and visitors are kindly asked to refrain from using their mobile telephones whilst in the nursery or when collecting or dropping off their children. 

If you are found to be using your phone inside the nursery premises you will be asked to finish the call or take the call outside.

We do this to ensure all children are safeguarded and the time for dropping off and picking up is a quality handover opportunity where we can share details about your child.

Visitors are requested to leave their mobile phones or smart watches in the safety of the office where they will be locked away safely.

Photographs and videos

At Hatching Dragons we recognise that photographs and video recordings play a part in the life of the nursery. We ensure that any photographs or recordings) taken of children in our nursery are only done with prior written permission from each child’s parent and only share photos with parents in a secure manner. We obtain this when each child is registered and we update it on a regular basis to ensure that this permission still stands.

We ask for individual permissions for photographs and video recordings for a range of purposes including: use in the child’s learning journey; for display purposes; for promotion materials including our nursery website, brochure and the local press; and the different social media platforms we use. We ensure that parents understand that where their child is also on another child’s photograph, but not as the primary person, that may be used in another child’s learning journey.

If a parent is not happy about one or more of these uses, we will respect their wishes and find alternative ways of recording their child’s play or learning. 

Staff are not permitted to take any photographs or recordings of a child on their own information storage devices e.g. cameras, mobiles, tablets or smartwatches and may only use those provided by the nursery. The nursery manager will monitor all photographs and recordings to ensure that the parents’ wishes are met and children are safeguarded.

Parents are not permitted to use any recording device or camera (including those on mobile phones or smartwatches) on the nursery premises without the prior consent of the manager.

During special events, e.g. Christmas or leaving parties, staff may produce group photographs to distribute to parents on request. In this case we will gain individual permission for each child before the event. This will ensure all photographs taken are in line with parental choice. We ask that photos of events such as Christmas parties are not posted on any social media websites/areas without permission from parents of all the children included in the picture.

Applicable for settings using Online Learning Journals only

At Hatching Dragons we use tablets/cameras  in the rooms to take photos of the children and record these directly on to their electronic learning journeys. We ensure that these devices are used for this purpose only and do not install applications such as social media or messaging sites on to these devices.

We also do routine checks to ensure that emails and text messages (where applicable) have not been sent from these devices and remind staff of the whistleblowing policy if they observe staff not following these safeguarding procedures.