Social networking services (SNS) and e-safety advice for professionals and teachers. Keep your students, you and of course your job safe.
Social Media Policy Templates
A TES survey uncovered that around 10% of teachers were friends with their pupils on SNS. It is not a recommended however to accept friend requests on your personal accounts or accept follow requests from pupils or parents from your school. On most services including Facebook and Twitter, the sender is not notified when you select ignore or delete for these requests, neither if you remove persons from your friends/followers list will they be notified. Best practice is to avoid making yourself vulnerable by having access to your students personal information, as you potentially could be leaving yourself open to allegations of inappropriate conduct. Your school may supply guidance of this in their E-safety or Acceptable Usage Policy. (AUP)
Some schools do use SNS such as Facebook to communicate with pupils and parents, but they do so utilising professional organisational accounts or pages with prior consent from their Senior Leadership Team (SLT).
What privacy settings does a teacher need if using social networking services?
The answer will vary dependent on your profile and what you post. It is important when using SNS that you control who can see your account details and content such as any personal information, photos, posts, and status updates. On most SNS networks, you can set your account to private so you can then accept or decline.
Should teachers and students be facebook friends?
Unprofessional conduct with regard to social media use is an increasing trend, inevitably this is also true amongst teaching professionals.
Very often, this is a result of a lapse in awareness or basic common sense. Guidelines in web 2.0 (read social media) are largely underdeveloped for professionals, due no doubt, to the rapid evolution in our digital world. So how can we strike a healthy, achievable and safety conscious balance between the seemingly infinite benefits of communication, plus access and sharing of resources and the inevitable concerns over safety in our professional lives?
As teachers, our connection with students is often personal and emotionally demanding, requiring patience, dedication and hard work bound by duty. In short, teaching takes over our lives. In this context, a Facebook ‘friend request’ acceptance, ostensibly would be a natural action to take.
Social media can really help children’s learning and does have its place in schools, provided it is comprehensively regulated and that schools are very clear what they are using social media for and how they are going to regulate it.
If however, it goes wrong it can become a nightmare for teachers.
What are the policies that schools should have in place?
A good social networking policy for teachers should contain guidelines and information on how they can use networking sites. It should include information for students about what the clear consequences of misuse will be, not only from direct school action, but also personal, such as a pupils reputation being harmed, and potential longer term digital footprint issues.
In order to take advantage of the multiple benefits of social networking, schools should have clear social media policies with consequences of misuse and educate both staff and students in its safe and responsible use.
"SCHOOLNAME" recognizes that information technology in school aids students and teachers in learning, communicating, and developing skills that will be a vital part of their working and social life. We are committed to directing students towards the development of modern technology and communication skills. Consequently, we supply access to technologies for both student and staff use. This policy of acceptable use profiles the guidelines and behaviours all users are expected to adhere to when using technologies on the school campus whether utilizing school or personally-owned devices.
The network and all technologies provided are intended for educational purposes. The policies in this document cover all technologies available throughout the school campus, including emerging and future technologies. Any activity over the network may be monitored and/or retained.
Online access to content using the network may be bound or restricted in conformance with our policies and federal regulations, such as the CIPA (Children’s Internet Protection Act).
Students and staff are assumed to follow the same precepts for respectful conduct and decent behavior online as offline.
Misuse of any school resources may result in disciplinary action.
We make a concerted effort to ensure the network/online safety and security of students, but will not be accountable for any harm or damages that result from the misuse of school resources/technologies. Users of the network or/and technologies must alert IT staff of any concerns for safety or security immediately.
"SCHOOLNAME" may supply Internet access, desktop computers, mobile devices, email, videoconferencing capabilities, message boards, online collaboration capabilities, and more.
Students and staff are expected to follow the aspects of this document and use good judgment to be safe, careful, appropriate and kind. Users must not attempt to bypass any protection measures: use of good common sense is expected in this regard.
"SCHOOLNAME" supplies its users with Internet access to web content, sites, online tools including those that allow collaboration, communication sharing and messaging among users. Access will be restricted in accordance to CIPA regulations and our policies. Web activity may be monitored and records may be collected and retained indefinitely.
Users must respect that our web filter and other facets are a safety precaution, and must not try to circumvent these when browsing or interacting with the Web or network. If a site is restricted and a user does not believe it should be, the user should submit the site for review or alert an IT staff member.
"SCHOOLNAME" may supply users with email accounts for the intention of school-related communication. Use and availability may be restricted based on our policies.
If users are supplied with email accounts, they must be used with care. Users must not send any personal information; should not open files nor follow links from non trusted or unknown origin; must use appropriate language; and only communicate with other people as permitted by the teacher or district policy.
Users are obliged to communicate with appropriate, mindful, safe, courteous conduct online as offline. Emails can be monitored and archived.
Social / Web 2.0 /
Understanding that collaboration is vital to education, “SCHOOLNAME” may provide students access to web sites and tools that will allow communication, content sharing, collaboration, and messaging among users.
Users must communicate with the same appropriate, mindful, and courteous conduct online as offline. Sharing, posts, chats, and messaging can be monitored. Students and staff should be cautious not to share online information that is personally-identifying.
Mobile Devices Policy
"SCHOOLNAME" may supply users with mobile network devices to promote learning inside and outside of the school. Users should comply with the same acceptable use policies when using any school device both off the school network and the school network.
Users must treat these devices with extreme care as these are valuable devices which the school is entrusting in your care. Users are expected to report any damage, loss, or malfunction to IT staff as soon as possible. Users may be accountable financially for damage as a result of negligence or misuse.Use of mobile devices provided by the school, including any use of the school/district network, may be restricted or monitored.
Students and staff may use personally-owned devices (laptops, smartphones, tablets and cell phones) during school hours unless such usage creates disturbance to the educational environment or interferes any delivery of instruction by a teacher or staff member. Misuse of personally-owned devices can result in disciplinary action. Adherence to the acceptable use policy must always be kept.
Users are to take reasonable safety measures against the transmittal of security threats on the school network, including not distributing or opening infected programs or files and not opening/distributing programs or files of non trusted or unknown origin. If you believe a mobile device or computer you are using may be infected with malware (virus, Trojan, etc.) please alert the IT staff. Do not attempt to resolve or remove the malware yourself or download any programs to help do so.
Users must not attempt to download or run .exe programs onto the school network or school resources before receiving express permission from the schools IT staff. You may be permitted to download file types such as videos, images or text. Users are expected to only download such files from reputable sites, and for educational purposes only.
Users must always use the Internet, online sites and network resources in a respectful and courteous manner.
Users must recognize also that among the valuable content found online there is incorrect, unverified or inappropriate content. Users are expected to use trusted sources when researching via the Internet.
Users should also be mindful to not post anything online that they would not want teachers, parents, future colleges or employers to see. Once content is online, it can sometimes be copied and/or shared and spread in ways you did not intend.
Users must not plagiarize (claim what is not their own) any type of content, including text, images and video from the Internet.
Users must not take credit for things that they did not create themselves, or misrepresent themselves as a creator of content found online. Content taken from the Internet should be properly cited, crediting the original author.
If you see a comment, message, image, or anything else online that makes you feel concerned for your own safety, inform an adult (teacher or staff member if you’re in school; parent/guardian if you’re at home) immediately.
Users should not share personal information, including your address, phone number, driver’s license number, date of birth, social security number, financial information, account numbers etc, via the Internet without adult permission.
Users must recognize that communicating via Internet brings risks associated with anonymity, and should cautiously safeguard their personal information and that of others.
Users should never arrange to meet someone in person they have met online without parental permission.
Cyberbullying, as with any bullying, will not be tolerated. Harassing, disrespecting, denigrating, mocking, outing, excluding, tricking and cyberstalking are all types of cyberbullying. Do not be mean. Do not post comments or send emails with the intent of intimidating, hurting, upsetting or scaring someone else.
Engaging in any online activities that are, or suspected to be, intended to harm (physically or emotionally) another person, will invoke severe disciplinary action. In some cases, cyberbullying is a crime. Remember, your activities are invariably monitored and retained.
Limitation of Liability
"SCHOOLNAME" will not be held responsible for damage or harm to persons, data, files, or hardware. Whilst "SCHOOLNAME" employs filtering and further safety and security measures, and attempts to maintain their proper function, it makes no guarantees to their effectiveness. "SCHOOLNAME" will not be held responsible,
financially nor otherwise, for any unauthorized transactions conducted over or via the school network.
Violations of this Acceptable Use Policy
Violations of this policy may invoke disciplinary repercussions, including:
Suspension of network, technology and computer privileges in extreme cases
Reporting to parents in most cases
Suspension or detention from school and school activities
Legal action and possible prosecution
I have fully read and understood this Acceptable Use Policy and I agree to abide by it:
(Student Printed Name)
I have read fully and discussed in depth this Acceptable Use Policy with my child:
(Parent/Guardian Printed Name)
"SCHOOLNAME" Social Media Guidelines
Maintaining Separate Professional and Personal E-mail Accounts
"SCHOOLNAME" staff who engage in professional social media activity should keep separate e-mail addresses for personal and professional use.
Employees should not use personal e-mail address for any professional activities. Instead, employees should use a professional e-mail address which is separate to any personal social media activity. Persistent use of any e-mail address for school purposes, including social media activity, may result in “SCHOOLNAME” considering the e-mail address as a professional account.
Communication with Students
"SCHOOLNAME" employees who work and communicate with students via professional social media accounts should comply with the following guidelines:
Social media sites for professional use that are school-based must be designed to address educational, extra-curricular or instructional matters.
"Schoolname" parents will be informed on the social media activities in which their children may participate.
Guidance Regarding Professional Social Media Sites
The term “communicates”, as used in this Policy, refers to activities including, but not limited to, “posting messages”, “following”, “friending” and “commenting” via social media sites.
The term “site” or “sites” refer to a social media account.
"SCHOOLNAME" staff should use school based social media sites that involve "SCHOOLNAME" students only for professional purposes.
The term parent refers to the student’s parent or guardian.
"SCHOOLNAME" employees must treat professional social media or networking space and communication like a real world classroom and professional workplace.
The same standards expected in “SCHOOLNAME” professional settings are expected on professional social media sites. If a specific type of behavior is not appropriate in the classroom or professional workplace, then that same behavior is also inappropriate using the professional social media site.
"Schoolname" employees should exercise caution, common sense and sound judgment when utilizing professional social media sites.
When professional social media sites are established, employees should consider the site’s intended audience/users and also consider the privacy level assigned to the site, particularly, whether or not the site should be a private network (limited to a particular class or particular group within the school) or a public access network (for example, anyone within the school, or even individuals outside of the school). It is strongly recommended practice for all professional social media sites to be limited to private networks, unless there is a particular educational need for a site to be a public network.
Before creating a professional social media presence “SCHOOLNAME” employees must obtain their supervisor’s approval using an official registration form provided by the school.
Where possible, “SCHOOLNAME” staff should provide their supervisor with separate administrator rights providing access to all professional social media accounts.
If any professional social media site is subjected to significant change (I.E. a page once used to share debate on homework assignments is to be used instead to share debate with a class at another school), staff must consider whether a newly revised registry form and/or whether revised parental notification is necessary.
As needed, schools should continue to inform parents about newly set up social media sites.
"SCHOOLNAME" employees are responsible to help their supervisor to maintain a list of every professional social media account in their use. All professional "SCHOOLNAME" social media sites should include language content identifying them as professional social media "Schoolname" sites as opposed to personal sites.
"SCHOOLNAME" employees must use their professional social media site’s privacy settings with the objective of sharing and communication with the intended audience only.
However, “SCHOOLNAME” staff need be aware of limitations to privacy settings.
Private communication published online can easily become public. Also, social media sites often change their default privacy settings and numerous other functions. As a result, each staff member has a responsibility to comprehend the functions of the social media site being used.
"SCHOOLNAME" employees are responsible for the avoidance of publishing personally identifiable student to the extent possible. This includes but is not limited to information such as; full name, address, phone numbers, date of birth, email address, usernames and passwords, bank details.
Students who use professional social networking sites are not permitted to post images/videos featuring other students without approval from the teacher or other ”SCHOOLNAME” employee who holds responsibility for the site.
"SCHOOLNAME" employees are not recommended to post images of other employees on professional social media sites before obtaining their permission.
"SCHOOLNAME" reserves the right to remove postings or disable a page of professional social media sites that do not reasonably conform with these policy Guidelines.
Monitoring of “SCHOOLNAME” professional social media sites
To assist monitoring, to the extent possible, staff should research the default settings for comments and postings on professional social media sites and where possible use more restrictive settings. The “SCHOOLNAME” employees should essentially move to settings that are public as needs dictate. If the setting for comments is enabled, allowing users to post comments without review, such comments should be regularly monitored.
"SCHOOLNAME" staff employing professional social media have no assumption of privacy when using such media. Professional sites will be monitored to safeguard the school community. "SCHOOLNAME" employees must keep a detailed record of any content or communication that does not comply with this policy as with any other violations that are brought to their attention.
Personal social media use
To maintain an appropriate and professional relationship with pupils, “SCHOOLNAME” staff should not use personal social media sites to communicate with students currently enrolled in the school. In the event a member of staff receives a “friend” request or other connection/communication function via a personal social media site by a student currently enrolled in the school, they should ignore the request. It is recommended that where possible a statement is placed on the site using language to this effect: “Please do not take offence if I do not respond to or accept your request, as a “SCHOOLNAME” employee the school’s Social Media Guidelines do not allow interactions with currently enrolled students via personal social network sites.
Can “SCHOOLNAME” parents, employees and staff give feedback regarding these guidelines?
Yes, because technology changes rapidly, “SCHOOLNAME” plans to update and review its policies as required. To this end, all feedback is welcomed.
Will “SCHOOLNAME” parents be kept informed regarding their children’s school-related social media use?
Yes, parents will be notified if their children are invited to take part in professional social media activities and information describing the sites/accounts that will be available to there child will be provided. Any concerns or questions that parents may have towards their child’s school related use of social media should contact the school for further information.
What actions should “SCHOOLNAME” staff who are charged with monitoring professional social media take when they discover or are alerted to inappropriate behaviour?
Depending on the situation or type of activity involved the content in question will be properly documented and confidentiality will be maintained. The issue will be reported at the earliest opportunity to the directing site principle who will contact the appropriate authorities.