Teachers Should NOT Friend Students on Facebook

To friend the teacher or not to friend the teacher, that is the question.

The school year is right around the corner and the safety of all children are on the forefront of our mind. We think its time for all parents to think about boundaries between students and their teachers. Teachers are in the position of role model for our children no matter what your children’s ages. In today’s world our children’s teachers are using  technology.  As technology is advancing  the age of our children using technology is getting younger.  Many teachers use technology in the classroom and your children need to be up to speed on the latest and greatest that is out there.

Children need to be 13 years of age to be on facebook, yet we all know children as young as 9 have their own pages. Children have a hard time understanding the consequences of their actions and friending ones teacher is just something a kid might do, just like they might friend a relative, an older cousin or their older brother’s friend.  From a child or teens perspective this is someone they see daily, feel connected to, and perhaps the teacher has encouraged the kids to be in touch via facebook to get questions answered or extra help.

It all sounds good, right? Wrong. Why?  Facebook is social media, a place where a teacher wears many hats. We are not even talking about impropriety here, we are talking about common sense privacy and professional boundaries. Do all teachers think to themselves before they post a picture or make a  comment – what will my 7th grade students think about this? Is it appropriate for your 6th grader to know t her teacher spent the weekend away with her boyfriend? (Nothing wrong with teacher spending weekend away – but is it necessary for your sixth grader to know how her teacher spends her weekend?)

In today’s complicated world it seems more and more teachers are crossing boundaries with students. Not a day goes by that we don’t see a news story about a teacher, coach, or other trusted adult molesting, sexting or other avenues of impropriety with a student through technology. Now if teachers are reading this… keep in mind (we are teachers too) and we believe that most teachers only have the best interests of their students in mind and would never cross an inappropriate boundary. But in this day and age there are many that do and are making unsafe choices and because of that we believe that teachers and students should NOT be friends on any social media web sites.

Our children are growing up in the digital age – less is more, faster is better and to catch our child’s attention teachers must be on the cutting edge of technology. But that doesn’t mean that the students understand what is in their own best interest. Many wouldn’t think twice about friending a teacher. It is the teachers that need to put in some thought, and recognize their professional role, and the risks they open themselves up to by friending students.

With that said, there are a myriad of options online for today’s teachers to reach out to their students without crossing professional boundaries, or perhaps mistakenly showing favoritism – by only friending certain students, etc. Teachers creating a class website reaching out to the whole class and parents too can be an effective form of communication and have tremendous benefit to our children.

Since there is still much to learn regarding Social Networking and professionalism – some School Boards in various states have created policy to address the issue. The solution: Teachers should not be “friends” with their students! They should be mentors, role models and guides for our children.

Teachers deserve to have a life. They have every right to post pictures, talk about their lives, whatever they want. But as the role model, mentor and guide – I don’t want my child to see it or be a part of it because when they do…they become a part of it too and that my “friend” is how the boundaries get blurred.

Testimonials

"Thank you for giving us the opportunity to be included in the KidSafe program. I highly recommend this program to other schools. We hope that we will be given the same opportunity for our Kindergarten and 2nd grade students to be a part of this wonderful program during the 2016-2017 school year."

Mrs. Keelyn Meselsohn 2nd Grade Teacher/Team Leader Tradewinds Elementary School

"The Safe and Smart Series Book My Body Is Special and Belongs To Me is kept in my middle school clinic and has been a tool that has opened many conversations for me between students that have experienced a difficult situation and were unable to talk about it. Through the illustrations and nonjudgmental verbiage the author has allowed kids permission to share their feelings about invasion of their personal space. Thank you so much."

Nurse Connie, PBC School Nurse 6.8.2016

"I'm so grateful that KidSafe has partnered with my daughter's school.  I learned so much in the parent training--how to recognize potential sexual predator behavior; how to quiz my child about what they would do in different scenarios; and how to explain safe and unsafe touch.  In addition, knowing that my daughter is receiving weekly trainings on these topics gives me great peace of mind.  I have confidence that I can reinforce what she is learning in school in order to prevent her from ever being a victim of such a heinous crime.  Thank you KidSafe for your dedication to protecting our communities' most vulnerable citizens."

Christina Kranick

“It was a normal Saturday and I was at the rink with my 7 and 8 year old. My son asked me if he could use the Men’s Restroom by himself.  Without hesitation, my daughter said,  Absolutely not! I was in KidSafe today and you cannot go to the restroom alone.  It is very important that Mommy is with you.. with us.   I was so proud of my little girl!  We are so blessed to have Debbie Miller at our school teaching our children the importance of safety. Many thanks to you all!  Your program and instruction is absolutely amazing.  Keep up the great work!"  

Tara Henley Admissions Assistant, St. Mark’s Episcopal Church and School, Ft. Lauderdale

I am a parent of two Pine Crest children and I attended your program on Monday night. I just wanted to thank you so very much for the very informative seminar. As hard as it was to hear all of those things, it was very needed. We were thrilled that you were able to come and share that very important information with us and our children. So again...thank you.

Elisa Aronberg

Today’s training was awesome! It was very informative. Sally was a very good resource, she motivated us a lot! We want to pass on this information to parents, teachers and students! Thank you for offering workshops like this. These are tools we use to continue serving our children and families.

Participant from Children’s Services Council of Broward Seminar

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