Social Media: What are the rules for teachers?

So you’ve probably already seen the likes of ‘Lucy Smith’ changing her Facebook name to ‘Lucy May’ because she’s going to be a teacher next year. Some do it for other professions too, but I must admit it is mainly my teacher friends that I have noticed using this technique to hide their social media profiles from the world.

The logic behind it is clear, you don’t want your students and indeed maybe even parents being able to do a quick search for your name on Facebook and have the ability to scroll back to 15 year old you at a house party, looking messy after drinking 2 beers.

We were advised during training to change our Facebook names and hoick up the privacy settings. Today I’ve spent time trying to make my Facebook account as private as humanly possible but I’m rather reluctant to change my Facebook name for the time being.

Earlier on this year my boyfriend had a privacy scare where he responded to a fake email from his bank which allowed criminals, probably likely to be on the other side of the world, to hack into his bank account and phone and steal all his money (don’t worry he got it all back in the end). You’re probably thinking, what’s this got to do with teaching? Well the answer is, it really scared me. If it’s that easy to steal all of someone’s money then we have to be careful what kind of information we are putting out there for the world to see. At this point in time I had over 1,500 friends on Facebook. Don’t ask me how I acquired that many. I first signed up to Facebook in 2009 and as I changed schools after sixth-form, have been to two universities and had lots of jobs and hobbies, I guess across the years it just developed. That week I spent about 3 hours going through and deleting over 600 people who I felt I didn’t know well enough for them to be able to know everything about me in just one click. My criteria was, if I wouldn’t say hi to them in the street and I wouldn’t wish them happy birthday on Facebook then they were a goner.

And I’ve decided to do this process again now I have left university and it’s gone down another 100 so I now have 800 friends on Facebook. That may still seem like a lot to you but I have a huge family and a very large network of friends from around the world so for me that’s about right.

For the moment I have not decided to change my name on Facebook but I have made these privacy setting changes:

  • Allow only my profile picture and cover photo to be seen by someone who is not friends with me
  • Allow only friends of friends to add me on Facebook
  • Allow my posts to only be visible to my Facebook friends and not ‘public’ (This also means I have changed the privacy settings on my historical posts too)

I must note that the reason I feel that this will be enough to stop pupils seeing anymore than just my profile and cover photo is because I am completing my teacher training in a different part of the country to where I was raised, went to university and even then my commute to school is quite a distance. So where I am teaching, I have no digital connection with at all. Therefore it’s very unlikely that I will have a friend in common with any of the students for them to even be able to send me a friend request.

However, this may change once I start my training and I’ll definitely be thinking it over. I’ve also made my Instagram and Twitter (I never use it anyway) accounts private also.

Having grown up in a generation where social media is such an enormous part of our lives, I have really struggled with this concept. I’ll let you know how I get on with these privacy settings and of course, if I do decide to make the leap to change my Facebook name!

Thanks for reading and I’d love to hear your comments below!

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Published by Gaby Mendes

Your 20s wing woman!

2 thoughts on “Social Media: What are the rules for teachers?

  1. Very good criteria for deleting old facebook friends I think I’ll go do this now after reading your post. I changed the spelling of my name on Facebook as I am paranoid, friend of mine had pupils message him and rather naively replied to them telling them it was inappropriate. Safe to say the school was not happy, conclusion do not reply in any circumstances lol enjoyed reading this 🙂


    1. Thank you, I am glad I have helped you in some way! I will bare that in mind if I ever do get students message me (fingers crossed I won’t), instead I think that is when I’ll be changing my Facebook name! Thanks for your kind feedback x

      Liked by 1 person

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