Social media rules for schools are ever-changing and it is important for every citizen to be concerned. Students are our future andeven if you are not a parent or a student, it is important to know how schools are handling social media and what the parameters and limitations are for students and educators.
What are the social media rules for schools and students?
Schools are required and expected to keep children safe while they are at school. That responsibility is even greater with the internet in the classroom. The internet is an excellent tool for providing access to unlimited learning opportunities for students. The problem is that the internet allows not only students to reach out, but for danger to reach in. Most schools prevent access to common social media sites like twitter, Facebook and YouTube. Rules for students should take into account the following:
- Access – Students are very computer savvy and can learn ways to bypass blocks on certain websites.
- Other ways to communicate – Even if social media sites are blocked, students can communicate in other ways such as email and all sites should be monitored for access and communication abilities.
- Cyber bullying – Social media has taken bullying to a new level by allowing people to post anonymously or to target someone specifically.
Social media rules for schools must also cover more than the most common social media sites. There are many ways to communicate and new websites pop up every day aimed at younger students. Without parental supervision at school, students are free to access and communicate with others that may be prevented at home.
What are the social media rules for schools and their employees?
School employees are held to an ethical standard and are required to agree to a internet access and social media policy. Important concerns for employees of schools are:
- Privacy– When using internet and equipment owned by a school, it must be know if communications are tracked or private.
- Communication with parents – Schools can benefit from using social media to communicate with parents by posting activities, schedules and updates.
- Safety and security – Employees need to be safe online. They can also be victims of cyber-bullying and become targets of students or other employees.
School employees must also be educated on the proper use of social media and how to keep their own lives private from students. Educators can easily share too much and risk offending someone or give any appearance of unethical or unacceptable behavior. School employees need to protect their online reputation.
How can schools benefit from social media?
Rules should not be only for the negative things that can happen with using social media websites. Social media rules should also cover how to use social media properly. Social media is just like any other tool and can benefit the school like any other business. Schools can benefit from social media in many ways including:
- Professional development – Educators can meet virtually with peers and exchange ideas. They can also attend professional development classes virtually.
- Connecting with community – Community and school must work hand in hand and social media is a great way to connect and let your needs be known.
- School blog – A school blog is an excellent way to get information on a wide variety of topics to parents.
Social media can be tricky, but by having policies and rules in place to address issues schools are able to take advantage of the benefits of social media while keeping everyone involved safe.