Privacy and Social Media

I use social media but I am not sure of the best way to incorporate it into teaching. Do the rules for student confidentiality vary from school to school, and is it best to create a page focused entirely for teaching and teaching resources only?
—H., North Carolina

Only use social media with your students if you have a plan to use it educationally. Websites are great places to host discussions, share research, upload presentations, post deadlines, and store worksheets or homework.

I categorically oppose using private or personal email addresses, Twitter feeds, websites, or Facebook pages to communicate with students or families. Set up specific accounts strictly for professional use and ensure your administration knows. As much as possible, enable password access to your social media and limit who has access. Inform administration and parents of what and how you are using social media. However, even allowing parents access to your site may be problematic.

Confidentiality policies may vary slightly between school districts but, in general, we all need to follow federal and state statues on privacy. In short, people outside your classroom should not be able to identify your students in pictures or words and should not have access to communicate with individual students. Most districts will have media release forms for families to grant or deny the school permission to post photos, work or names of their children. Your administrators will be well versed in the school district’s policies regarding what and how you can use it with your students.

Keep your students safe. Keep yourself safe.

Hope this helps!

Image by Thomas Ulrich from Pixabay

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