With cyber safety and online bullying becoming increasingly problematic, many schools are adopting school social media policies.
Nativity plays, sports days, class assemblies… Many of your proudest parenting moments take place within the school walls, and it’s natural to want to share your photos and videos on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Having a school social media policies keep everyone safe!
It’s also natural to use social media to vent if you’re having a problem with your child’s school life. But the internet is not always a safe or private place, and ‘oversharing’ could potentially put your child and others at risk. That’s why an increasing number of nurseries and schools are introducing social media policies that dictate how staff, parents and pupils should use social networking sites.
What are social media policies for?
Nursery and primary school social media policies have a number of purposes, but their overriding function is to protect staff, students and parents from the many issues that can arise as a result of posting on social networking sites.
Staff may be vulnerable to malicious and defamatory comments (and potentially even threats and abuse) from parents or pupils, and to allegations of grooming and other forms of online abuse. Twenty-one per cent of teachers say they’ve had derogatory remarks made about them online.
Parents may become involved in online disputes with other parents through social media. They may also potentially put their child and others within the school at risk by sharing photos, videos or other information that could make the children identifiable to others.
Pupils are at risk of cyberbullying, and may also become involved in cyberbullying themselves. They are also vulnerable to other serious crimes such as grooming and abduction if they share too much personal information on social media.
What do social media policies include?
The main aim of social media policies for nurseries and school is to keep everyone within the environment safe and within the law. Because the policies aren’t mandatory, schools are free to decide what they include. Often, the policies are divided into three separate sections directed at staff, parents and pupils.
For staff, requirements typically include:
- Not accepting friend requests from current pupils or ex-pupils under the age of 13
- Notifying the parents if a child sends a friend request
- Using extreme caution when corresponding with parents via social media, and preferably using a school email address instead
- Not discussing anything to do with school, pupils or other staff members, or posting photos of school events
- Only posting things that they would be happy to be attributed to them as a teaching professional
- Not identifying themselves as being associated with the school
- Using the tightest privacy settings possible
- Not using social media on school devices, or on personal devices while on the school premises
Parental requirements often include:
- Not posting photos, videos or comments that include other children at the school
- Not using social media on their own devices while on school premises
- Not accessing social media while helping at school or on school visits
- Raising queries, concerns and complaints directly with the school rather than posting them on social media – whether on their own pages, in closed groups (e.g. groups set up for school parents to communicate with each other) or on the school’s pages
- Not posting anything malicious about the school or any member of the school community
Children are typically required to:
- Not join any social networking sites if they are below the permitted age (13 for most sites including Facebook and Instagram)
- Tell their parents if they are using the sites, and when they are online
- Be aware of how to report abuse and inappropriate content
- Not access social media on school devices, or on their own devices while they’re at school
- Not make inappropriate comments (including in private messages) about the school, teachers or other children
We hope to keep Highgate Montessori a safe and secure environment for all of our staff, parents, carers and children and would ask that you take note of the points made above.
If you would like further information on our School Social Media Policies then please get in touch.
For more advice on helping your child stay safe online, visit the UK Safer Internet Centre.