A few weeks ago I asked in “What About the Kids?” if schools should offer online safety classes. Here’s another justification for it.
I just came across “Should Teachers and Students be Facebook Friends?” on Education Week. Right now I’m Facebook friends with a few high school teachers, one from college and a few from grad school. I suppose that I’m looking at it from an adult perspective now as I was out of high school for over 10 years by the time I joined Facebook many moons ago, but I don’t think I would have wanted to be Facebook friends with high school teachers while I was a student, even some that I liked a lot.
We’ve heard the stories about teachers inappropriately contacting students online. If you’re going to be an educator, you take on a role model status and should act appropriately. We expect that of our politicians as well. It’s upsetting to hear about the bad apples who make us question the rest of the bunch. For those who say, “well students start things too,” sure they do. Come on. It really shouldn’t be difficult for a responsible normal adult to figure that out rather quickly.
After reading the article, I might suggest something that I recommend to elected officials who want to have an online presence and still maintain a personal page for only their friends. Make a public page. Teachers can still post information, have discussions, and interact, but it would be public and professional and can be monitored. They would not need to “friend” students, and students’ personal posts would not show up in the teacher’s feed. (Depending on how strict a district’s rules are that might still be a violation, though.) A combination of a public page and online safety classes from the school might be a good way for students to learn how to properly navigate online and at the same time, help teachers keep a “safe” distance from their students while connecting.
Is there a way for teachers and students to safely be Facebook friends?