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Facebook problem

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by les25paul, Mar 2, 2016.

  1. les25paul

    les25paul Star commenter

    This is not a personnel dilemma but a tale of woe that might prevent some future dilemmas.

    Of course no one here would be daft enough to have current students as Facebook friends, would be very cautious about including past students as friends and might think twice about students' parents or work colleagues as friends. Likewise everyone knows to be careful with comments and pictures they post.

    But I was talking to a female supply teacher today who had an issue I would have overlooked and thought it prudent to share with others.

    She took on a long term supply placement at a school at which a friend of hers had a son there. She was not friends with the lad but the mother did have her son as a Facebook friend (cannot imagine why). So the boy was able to access "Miss's" Facebook account through his Mothers' account. On Miss's page there was a beach photo of her wearing a bikini, nothing saucy just a normal holiday snap but dynamite in the hands of a hormone crazed teenager.

    Of course the lad shared the photo with his mates and before long it spread around the school. The school was sympathetic but in reality there wasn't much they could do. Eventually the teacher had enough of the comments made to her and left her placement early. She now has concerns that the photo might follow her if she goes to a neighbouring school.

    But she did get some advice from the school's IT techs on how to prevent this again, which she shared with me and I'll pass on. Its a balance between remaining visable so that genuine friends can recognise your Facebook profile but being invisable to unwanted attention.

    Firstly you can hide your public timeline, new visitors will only see your name and profile photos. The photo does not have to show your face but something someone who knows you will recognise you by. (eg favourite football team, pub, holiday etc)

    Secondly and this was news to me, you can block individual people. So you can remain friends with your adult friends but avoid attention from their kids or annoying relatives. Teachers might be advised to block anyone of school age.

    The problem with this is that being male I cannot possibly be expected to remember to whom all my mates are married to , what children they have (if any) or the names of said children. However I can remember the make and model of all my pals first motorcycle/car and where they crashed it.o_O

    I hope this stops anyone else making a similar error using Facebook.
    ValentinoRossi and sabrinakat like this.
  2. TheoGriff

    TheoGriff Star commenter


    Thank you. A very helpful post, @les25paul .

    Best wishes

  3. Middlemarch

    Middlemarch Star commenter

    I still urge all serving teachers not to use Facebook.
  4. sabrinakat

    sabrinakat Star commenter

    Agreed. I use the highest privacy settings on any social media; I challenged my Year 7s to find me as a PSHE activity and the academic stuff only came up [It was a topic to do with their own usage of instagram and being under the age of 13]; lots on my cat, though...(she has her own 'facebook' page - NO links to me) :eek:
  5. Middlemarch

    Middlemarch Star commenter

    Cats are well known for posting outrageous things on Facebook. You've only yourself to blame.
  6. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    Are you serious? FB is my way of keeping in touch with friends I don't see very often. I know all my 'friends' and have no current colleagues as friends.

    Maybe if I taught secondary I'd feel differently, but I definitely can't see a problem with teachers being on FB.
    diane1987 and BelleDuJour like this.
  7. Middlemarch

    Middlemarch Star commenter

    I am serious. I've known too many teachers have problems with it already, including primary. I know personally one primary teacher who was forced out of her job because of Facebook issues (and she wasn't 'guilty' of anything to do with safeguarding, in case you wondered).
    digoryvenn, eljefeb90, wanet and 2 others like this.
  8. Jesmond12

    Jesmond12 Star commenter

    We have an acceptable use policy which states that staff should never make friends with pupils, past or present as it can raise serious safeguarding issues.

    It also states that staff should think very carefully about becoming friends with parents.

    It is a minefield that can trap the unwary.
  9. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    If you exercise a sensible amount of caution (not friends with parents, colleagues or pupils; not posting anything negative or controversial to do with school/education; no pictures you'd not want your granny to see) then what can go wrong?

    Social media is part of life and teachers can't just opt out of the world.

    Or am I just naive and unwary?
    aalajamil, ScotSEN and DYNAMO67 like this.
  10. loodle1

    loodle1 Occasional commenter

    I don't think you are naive @caterpillartobutterfly, you are correct that social media is part of life. I do think some people don't think carefully enough about what they post on their Facebook page though. I use it to keep in touch with friends who live all over the world, and also to keep up with clubs and groups I am a part of. I am really careful about what I post though-no swearing or bikini-clad pics-although that probably has more to do with not wanting anyone I know to see me in a bikini! ;):)
    ScotSEN likes this.
  11. ValentinoRossi

    ValentinoRossi Star commenter

    Why does it HAVE to be part of life? What happened to 'old-fashioned' ways of communicating such as email, Skype etc? Or even - god forbid - phoning?!

    Yes, you might possibly be naive and unwary.
  12. Dragonlady30

    Dragonlady30 Star commenter

    When FB became popular we had a chap come to talk to the staff ref being safe and anonymous. TBH, it all sounded so complicated I just couldn't be bothered so never joined.

    I know of a young lady who works for the LA and has responsibility for newly qualified staff and how they are settling in. More that 25% of her time is sorting out FB problems for these new teachers, from all types of school.
    wanet and ValentinoRossi like this.
  13. loodle1

    loodle1 Occasional commenter

    Like it or not it is part of modern life, as are smartphones and iPads etc which give us access to work emails at any hour of the day. @ValentinoRossi its interesting that email and Skype are now seen as old fashioned! Snail mail has got to be positively archaic!
    Compassman likes this.
  14. Compassman

    Compassman Star commenter

    I would agree with that. However, why shouldn't teachers post something about education? I agree that you should not post anything specifically about your school but education in general? There's plenty of FB pages run by teachers' unions and pressure groups with open discussions about various issues.
  15. sabrinakat

    sabrinakat Star commenter

    From a serious point of view, I do use FB to keep in touch with overseas family and friends again on the highest security level; I belong to no other social media.

    I am FB friends with two previous students after they finished their studies, I was no longer their teacher and I confirmed with the headmistress, both were also over the age of 18 as well. I am not friends with any other students whatsoever, except adult learners from university or EFL.

    Unless you like pictures of cats, there is nothing of interest on my public FB setting....
  16. Flere-Imsaho

    Flere-Imsaho Star commenter

    If the supply teacher had her account set to "friends only" there wouldn't have been a problem. I hope the child was punished?
  17. InkyP

    InkyP Star commenter

    I was going to say this. There is an option not to share your posts with Friends of Friends.
  18. FrankWolley

    FrankWolley Star commenter

    I seem to remember that I signed up to Facebook when I was still (just) teaching, but simply to keep an eye on my own children. I didn't use it or post anything until after I had retired. I was pretty dismissive about it, but now find it extremely useful as a way of keeping up with family & friends.

    A blanket ban on staff using it might have been possible a decade ago, but now it reminds me of this guy:

  19. TheoGriff

    TheoGriff Star commenter


    What an interesting nugget of information! Take care, everybody . . .

    A couple of months ago I was approached by Which? magazine asking if I would partake in some research. They wanted to give some investigating company (AKA professional hackers?) a chance to see what personal information they could find about people on the net. Age, address, DoB, current position, career history, could they discover or guess (name of your cat on FB?) any of your passwords to gain even more information, etc. and then report back to you. They would then, with your permission, see if Which? could apply for credit cards, open bank accounts, etc. in your name. You would get at every stage a report on where your defences were weak and what action you should take.

    The overall report came out as an article in the February 2016 edition of Which magazine.

    You will not find me featured there, as they found out absolutely nothing about me, despite being a member of and frequent poster on several social media.

    Including this one!

    Which brings me to this warning:

    * * * You should NOT use your own name and photo as Username and avatar * * *

    I am regularly asked by posters to delete posts or threads where they have either used their own name, or revealed so many details that their identity would be clear to any member of their school community who read what they had written.

    I, too, @Middlemarch , know of people who have been forced from their jobs, as teachers or even Heads, by postings on social media. Or, rather than forced, in some cases justifiably lost them by postings that were inappropriate in the extreme.

    Take care, take this as a warning. :(

    Best wishes

  20. Piranha

    Piranha Star commenter

    I use Facebook a bit, to keep in touch with people I don't see often and exchange ideas and banter with friends. It is also very useful for groups of people - my running club uses it a lot to share information, ask questions and plan car sharing to races. I have always followed the policy that I told students - never post anything if there is a single person you would not want to see it. Before I retired, I might mention school or education very occasionally, but only in a way that I would be happy for my Head or colleagues to see, not as we do on these forums. If you can't keep to these rules, then stay away from Facebook.

    The photo thing is an issue even if you are not on Facebook yourself. My daughter moved to my school in the 6th form, and her Facebook friends included many of my students. She had the good sense not to post anything detrimental to the school (at my request) but any photos she posted. or ones that she was tagged in, could be seen by my students. Not being a bikini wearer, I did not have that sort of issue, but it is easy to see how it can arise from innocent friends and family photos taken by others.

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