When you’re underway with SocialSchoolMedia these are some extras that you might want to supplement your school’s e-safety/acceptable use policies with. Feel free to borrow anything that might be useful.
The school uses Facebook to engage with its parental community on an informal and day-to-day basis. A high percentage of parents are already on Facebook and for the school to be on there too with its own Page, not profile, makes the work of the school easier to access, value, engage with and show the added value of the experiences provided.
In getting closer to parents there are certain considerations that the school has catered for. The school policy regarding children’s photographs applies to Facebook and in addition to this the school has opted to use a system & service that offers additional safety advice and measures.
To deter casual browsers and to promote engagement with the parent community who have the vested interest, the extra tabs on the school’s Facebook page are protected where needed with a ‘school gate’ facility which covers up the contents of the tabs. A person must click ‘like’ to open school gate and in doing so be seen as part of the community allowing their profile to be viewed by the school page administrators.
If a person not known to the school or otherwise joins and the school is unhappy or uncertain about the risk associated with them they can be blocked from visiting the page with immediate effect.
To publish photographs in a controlled way, without receiving individual comments or being tagged, a special separate photo gallery facility is provided which is not run by Facebook. Viewers are prevented from posting comments below photographs of school activity and therefore from inadvertently identifying children which could undermine the school policy.
Images are made more difficult to access because the usual ability to ‘right click’ and ‘save as’ has been disabled. The school understands that it is impossible to fully secure any photograph when published anywhere on the web.
Parents need educating with regard to online safety for their own benefit as well as their children’s. To this end the school provides a media area on the Facebook page that contains e-safety videos and offers support to parents for whom these raise questions.
The Facebook wall is monitored by the school for interaction and it is the schools position that the Wall is not the area for communications regarding individual children. It would not be desirable for parents to use a social tool in this way either.
The Facebook wall is configured to not allow posting of photographs or videos by parents. It has a profanity filter set to ‘high’ in place though there is no reason to expect issues from inappropriate content from parents; these are precautionary measures only.
The school will also publish audio recordings via Facebook to open up the learning environment to parents without exposing the children to risk.
Other common sense advice pertinent for high schools, where older children are of age to officially engage with social media such as Facebook, is widely available.