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Facebook: children and staff

Discussion in 'Primary' started by rainbowdrop86, Apr 25, 2012.

  1. rainbowdrop86

    rainbowdrop86 New commenter

    Hi all. I'm a new ICT co ordintor and quite concerned about Internet safety, Facebook in particular. I know we can't do anything about parents letting children use Facebook at home etc, although I'm aware of needing to explain to parents and children about the problems etc. however, I have just been on Facebook and go onto a ta's page (a friend on fb, I'm not being nosey!) and found that said TA is friends with a child in yr2. Surely this isn't appropriate. Whilst I'm sure it's prob mum who has created the account for the child, I still can't help but wonder whether something should be said about this. It's just not right to me. What do people do at their school about this kind of thing?
  2. No child should have a Facebook account and there is nothing the parent can say to argue against that. The TA should also know that and should not have added the child as a friend. It's inappropriate and the TA should be spoken to, as should the parent of the child in question. Not an easy conversation to have, I suppose but it's wrong. In my school, I would ask the head to have a word with both and I'm sure he would also send out a letter reminding parents about e-safety.
    Good luck!
  3. chocolateworshipper

    chocolateworshipper Occasional commenter

    Sounds like a very bad idea to me! Especially as a Y2 child is not old enough to have a FB account. I fail to understand why parents let children lie about their age to get a FB account - what sort of example are they setting their children - "if any rule in life doesn't suit you; just lie"
  4. You're right - we can't check what the children go on at home. However, I make sure I teach the children about the pros and cons of social networking sites, and at the beginning of the year, I offer sessions for parents so they know what they're dealing with and can then make informed decisions about what their child sees online. We also send home Internet rules at the beginning of the year, and if it's needed throughoout the year. The children and their parents read them, sign them, then return the slip to say they have signed them. Makes it a bit more formal for the children, and the parents know we're trying to help.
    This is entirely inappropriate, and the TA does need to know the boundaries here. Saying that, I'm not sure it's your place to say it. We had this problem at school a few years ago, and the head made it clear that, in no uncertain terms, we should not become friends with or contact any of the children and their parents on facebook. Some people have their relatives on there (some TAs have brothers/sisters who are parents of children in school) but none of them have children under the age of 13 as friends, and none of the ones over 13 who are on staff pages are children who have attended our school (unless they are direct family, i.e. that staff member's children.) I think this is a matter for your head teacher to deal with, but you may want to put a section about it in the internet policy, if your head agrees.
  5. inky

    inky Lead commenter

    Does your school have an e-safety policy? How up-to-date is staff training? How much are parents involved in e-safety?
  6. In my school, we have lessons on e-safety at the start of the year, along with a brief recap every time they go on the internet. I also teach the children about the importance of protecting themselves online, especially on social networking sites, giving the parents an opportunity to attend a session first so they know what their child will be learning. I kind of see it that if the parents are condoning have a social network account, we can't do much about it, but we can arm the children with the knowledge of how to use them properly and protect themselves.
  7. emilystrange

    emilystrange Star commenter

    it's part of internet policy that staff should not be friends with children or parents, though it is acknowledged that some parents and TAs are family or very close friends. Caution is advised in those circs. We are also warned about posting about anything to do with school, and advised about privacy level settings.
  8. minnieminx

    minnieminx New commenter

    I wouldn't worry about the child at all in this instance, more the TA. No way should members of staff be 'friends' with children. Nor, ideally parents.

    Find out what your school policy is and then speak to the HT.
  9. rainbowdrop86

    rainbowdrop86 New commenter

    Thanks for your quick replies. Our Internet safety policy needs reviewing, it is my first job as a new co ordintor. I think I will mention it to ht tomorrow, if only as an example that policy needs reviewing asap, and staff training in it needed
  10. Staff and parents wouldn't be friends on Facebook in an ideal world but the lines are blurred, aren't they? I'm a teacher and a parent at my school so should I be allowed to befriend staff? My TA is also a parent of a child at our school. The head's children go to our school and I'm friends with his wife on Facebook. I teach the daughter of the teacher in the classroom next to mine and last year I taught the son of a girl who used to teach at the school but is now a member of the PTFA. Basically, about half of the staff in our school are also parents! Luckily, I'm not stupid and am very careful about what I post and who I am friends with. I have privacy controls in place and sometimes post things just to my out of school friends who I have added as a group so I can control who sees what. Nevertheless, I'm aware that Facebook is constantly changing and that somehow people can still view things via the sidebar. I almost treat my Facebook page as I do the school website and am very, very careful with it.
  11. Children from TPs have sent me friend requests and I'd love to keep in touch with them but it's so unbelievably inappropriate that I always ignore them. I'm constantly amazed, though, at how many colleagues have been friends with children. And parents. Eek.
    Could you ask to make a quick point in your next staff meeting? In your capacity as ICT co-ord, pass on a general 'message' to everybody about being friends with kids on FB. I'd say a teacher-friend told you a horror story or something, so you're passing it on that it's a really bad idea. Be careful not to look at the TA in question while you say it! Also mention that children shouldn't be users if they're under 13 - maybe this TA doesn't know that.
    I hate that so many of my class go on about facebook. I think it's weird and creepy for 7-year-olds to be on there. What can you do, though? I just repeat that they're not supposed to use it until they're 13. Out of interest, I recently searched for some of my children and loads of them are active users (with naff-all privacy settings). I was tempted to report them in the hope of getting their accounts shut down, but I didn't know if they'd be told who had made the complaint!

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