Teachers and their (mis)use of Facebook

I have noticed a few articles as of late about Facebook and teachers or education.

Last year, I was very anti-facebook. After spending a year or two on facebook, I began to become very frustrated with my ‘friends’. I was uninterested in the majority of the status updates that showed up on my news feed and quite frankly was more than a little annoyed at the pointlessness of it all. After trimming my ‘friends’ down from 150 to 50, and having some of the ‘trimmed’ telling me how insulted they were, I soon chose to suspend my account.

Related, a great blog post, Impulse control and social media, outlines what I think everyone should follow – not letting your brain leak out onto  your feeds. Everything we put on the internet is added to our online identity. We need to be picky about what we say.

So, in August of this year, a friend finally talked me into re-joining so that a group of us could communicate via facebook. And this time around I have been enjoying it! I have approximately 50 friends, which only includes people that I actually care to read status updates for. I am ‘friends’ with people from school and we use facebook quite a bit to chat about what is going on at school. I also like it to get information on events coming up in the city.

So, back to teachers and facebook. In some of my previous classes, we have have had conversations about teachers that have gotten in trouble because of content on their facebook page. My view: use common sense! If you have some inappropriate content on your facebook page and do not have your privacy settings as high as they could be, chances are, someone will find something that you don’t want them to see. I cannot believe that people actually need to be told to use discretion in deciding what content to post on facebook.

In using facebook personally, I do exercise common sense and do not have any inappropriate content on it (sometimes I wish my life was exciting enough to actually have inappropriate content to post!) and my privacy settings are high. And, I am very picky who I befriend. AND I would never ever befriend a student. Soon, my user name will change so that students will not be able to find me.

So, my view: everyone, not just teachers need to use common sense in using social media. People who do not, have to deal with possible consequences.

A conversation with my mom the other day:

Me: I signed up for Twitter and I’m really enjoying it!

Mom: You be careful with that! Teachers have gotten in trouble over things on Twitter.

Really mom? Really? You think that highly of me that you think I would post something inappropriate on Twitter that may get me in trouble with future employers? Huh. Not sure how to take that.

So, onto one of many articles discussing how teachers’ (mis)use of facebook has resulted in firing or disciplinary actions…

The article is: Teachers fired for flirting on facebook with students from the New York Post.  This article talks about 3 cases in which teachers befriend students, make inappropriate comments and some actually having relationships with some of the students.

In reference to this story, the website All Facebook The Unofficial Facebook Resource states that “School authorities might want to give some thought to policies governing whether teachers and students can interact on social networking sites such as Facebook.”

But should school authorities need to do this? Why should they? Shouldn’t teachers just through plain common sense NOT post inappropriate comments on their student’s facebook? I have a feeling that if facebook was not the tool these teachers were using to be inappropriate, they would find some other way. Granted, social media perpetuates the ease of inappropriateness, but if these teachers have inappropriate tendencies, they will come out one way or another. It is not facebook or social media that is the problem, it is the teachers!!!

And that is my rant for the day. 🙂

 

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2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Daelynn Green
    Nov 30, 2010 @ 18:48:35

    I enjoyed your rant today and am rather glad I am part of your facebook friends!

    I also find it interesting that teachers will not use common sense while utilizing social media. It’s almost as though they think they cannot be accountable for their actions on the computer. Perhaps it may be just that they think the computer does not equate to “doing it in person”.

    I agree that the inappropriate tendencies come from the teachers, not from the influence of social media. It should not be the responsibility of the school authorities to manage teachers social interactions. School funding is already limited, so why waste important resources on something teachers are expected to manage on their own?

    Reply

  2. Karen K
    Dec 02, 2010 @ 03:11:24

    I find something a little disturbing about teachers that are “friends” with their students. Seems a little creepy. A few of my SIAST students sent me friend requests and I just sent them a note back saying I had a policy not to be friends with students. Even though we were all adults I still did not feel right about it.

    PS – mom is an authority on everything! Just ask her.

    Reply

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