CAN I FRIEND YOU ON FACEBOOK?
an ethical response guide
Ensure students understand what it means to friend an educator
Before friend-requesting an educator, students should understand that educators are mandated reporters. Students must be 13 or older to participate on sites like Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat. If a student makes a mistake ensure they are aware you will provide appropriate advice and/or take required action.
UNDERSTAND THE REQUEST PURPOSE
How you are connected matters. Are you connected because of a common interest, relationship, or solely because s/he is your student?
Invite the student to an appropriate Facebook group. This could be based on a subject, extracurricular, or an alumni group. This allows us to message one-another and keep connected through the group, but it’s not necessary for us to be Facebook “friends.”
The Verdict: Request denied.
You are connected because of a shared interest. You can serve as a role-model and you can learn from students as well. Invite them to join you in appropriate groups or pages. When you invite students into your learning network you have the ability to collaborate with genius of all ages.
The Verdict: It depends.
You may have a child or other family member who is a student in the school system. Of course, it’s reasonable that you may enjoy keeping up with your family. Don’t forget to remind them that, family or not, you are still a mandated reporter.
The Verdict: Request accepted.
Be a Role Model
Educators are whole people with interests outside of our work. Serve as a hero to your students. Let students see you can have fun and be responsible. Show you are fierce about activities and issues that matter to you. Demonstrate best practices. Embrace your online image as an opportunity to inspire students and families.
No matter how good you think your privacy settings are, social media is not private. Whether or not you are “friends” with students always strive to serve as a role model in the digital world just as you would in your physical world.
Written by Lisa Nielsen @InnovativeEdu
Infographic by Eileen Lennon @Eileen_Lennon