Social networking - Guidelines for Members
Social networking websites provide an opportunity for people to communicate en masse and share ideas regardless of geographic distance.
Sites such as Facebook and Twitter can serve as a learning tool where training videos and other materials are made easily accessible to students in a user-friendly and engaging way.
They can also be a useful campaigning tool where NASUWT members can organise at grass roots level, setting up their own area or subject-based Facebook groups to get key messages out to other members and the wider public.
Other key benefits include:
- Users have a huge degree of control to post comments, photos, videos at any time of day.
- Interaction is instant and minute-by-minute.
- The union can target users who have common interests or experiences.
- Communications can be organised locally, regionally, nationally and globally.
- Communication reaches across socially diverse groups.
However, the open nature of the Internet means that social networking sites can leave professionals such as teachers vulnerable if they fail to observe a few simple precautions. The below guidelines are intended not as a set of instructions, but general advice on how to avoid compromising your professional position.
- To ensure that your Facebook account does not compromise your professional position, please ensure that your privacy settings are set correctly.
- Do not under any circumstances accept friend requests from a person you believe to be either a parent or a pupil at your school.
As a minimum, NASUWT recommends the following:
Privacy Setting Recommended security level
Send you messages Friends only
See your friend list Friends only
See your education and work Friends only
See your current city and hometown Friends only
See your likes, activities and other connections Friends only
Your status, photos, and posts Friends only
Bio and favourite quotations Friends only
Family and relationships Friends only
Photos and videos you're tagged in Friends only
Religious and political views Friends only
Birthday Friends only
Permission to comment on your posts Friends only
Places you check in to Friends only
Contact information Friends only
- Always make sure that you log out of Facebook after using it, particularly when using a machine that is shared with other colleagues/students. Your account can be hijacked by others if you remain logged in – even if you quit your browser and/or switch the machine off. Similarly, Facebook’s instant chat facility caches conversations that can be viewed later on. Make sure you clear your chat history on Facebook (click “Clear Chat history” in the chat window).
- Employers may scour websites looking for information before a job interview. Take care to remove any content you would not want them to see.
Conduct on social networking sites
- Do not make disparaging remarks about your employer/colleagues. Doing this in the presence of others may be deemed as bullying and/or harassment.
- Act in accordance with your employer’s information technology (IT) policy and any specific guidance on the use of social networking sites. If your school/college encourages the positive use of social networking sites as part of the educational process, they should provide clear guidance on what is considered to be appropriate contact with students. Having a thorough policy in place will help staff and students to keep within reasonable boundaries
- Other users could post a photo on their profile in which you are named, so think about any photos you appear in. On Facebook, you can ‘untag’ yourself from a photo. If you do find inappropriate references to you and/or images of you posted by a ‘friend’ online you should contact them and the site to have the material removed. If you face disciplinary action as a result of being tagged, contact NASUWT immediately.
- Parents and students may access your profile and could, if they find the information and/or images it contains offensive, complain to your employer.
- If you have any concerns about information on your social networking site or if you are the victim of cyberbullying, you should contact your NASUWT Regional Centre immediately.
- Do not publish your date of birth and home address on Facebook. Identity theft is a crime on the rise with criminals using such information to access to your bank or credit card account.
- Be aware of what monitoring, if any, may be carried out by the school/college. Full details of this should be detailed in the IT policy.
- Stop the network provider from passing on your details to other companies for research and advertising purposes. For example, to stop Facebook from forwarding your details, click “Privacy Settings”. Under “Applications and websites” click “edit your settings”. Scroll down to “instant personalisation” and make sure the checkbox for “enable instant personalisation on partner websites” is unchecked.
- Ensure that any comments and/or images could not be deemed defamatory or in breach of copyright legislation.
Membership of NASUWT
- Abusive posts in any official NASUWT Facebook group by an NASUWT member, including the use of language that is offensive, threatening and/or discriminatory may be deemed a breach of the Rules of the Union and invoke proceedings to cancel the user’s membership of NASUWT.