As an a educator, you are a role model. A role model sets examples and through the correct use of social media there is no greater opportunity to for these examples to be set.
Online technology is brilliant for adding another dimension to the classroom experience but great caution has to be taken in regards to what is used and how we use it. Utilising technology to communicate with children outside the classroom is also a very beneficial tool. However, when having that interaction with the pupils it can only be done on official channels of communication: using a formal and courteous tone so that the pupils don’t push the boundaries when they are back in the classroom.
To me, I feel that it is extremely important and very much a necessity to show pupils how to be safe online and the importance of doing so. Highlighting the need to be safe isn’t a way to try and hamper their fun and learning online, it is to try and protect them from the dangers that the internet sadly possesses. Moreover, as a teacher you have a duty of care to those children so if any issues are brought to your attention that suggest a child’s online safety is being compromised, you must inform your line manager immediately.
When online and using social media there are certain precautions that need to be put in place. Firstly, never accept a friend request from a pupil on a personal social media profile. If you are going to use approved social media to correspond with pupils it is highly recommended to make one account for personal use and a separate one for your professional use. Any personal accounts should ideally be made private and prevent anyone being able to tag you in pictures/posts without permission. When it comes to what you are posting it is very important that before hitting that ‘share’ button you consider whether or not it would compromise your professional and personal integrity. In addition, never discuss pupils or criticise the school you’re at or employer. It is highly unprofessional and could cost you dearly.
The internet is a fantastic way to enhance learning and taking that little bit of time to ensure your safety and the safety of your pupils when using it makes for a much more enjoyable experience.