Recently, Carol Thebarge lost her job as a long-time substitute teacher. She refused to unfriend her students from her Facebook account. The school policy of Stevens High School in Claremont, NH has a very strict policy against communicating with students via social media. Read the story by clicking here.
I have to say I disagree with the school’s policy. I am the proud parent of 6 children. When social media first came about I was really concerned for my children and whether I would be able to keep them safe. The truth is, like everything else in life, you have to use safety measures. Be strict about your child’s usage of the internet and educate them as to its proper use and what is allowed and what isn’t allowed. Then be sure that you check what your children are doing. Let them know that you are not spying on them, and be clear about the fact that you are just trying to keep them safe. Let them know up front exactly what you are doing and why. I find that being up front about what is going on builds trust between parent and child. Making them feel a part of the situation is key. But just as important is letting them know you trust them and that you are watching out for them is important. Kids are less likely to make mistakes or allow others to mistreat them if they know that they have support from an adult that they trust.
Technology is a blessing, but it can also be a curse. But not allowing our children to use it when it benefits them would be a waste of valuable resources. I think it’s great that a student could potentially be on Facebook and chat with their teacher if they get on their homework. If a student missed the homework assignment for the day, they can see the tweet on twitter. There are so many ways social media can help our children. It is our job as parents to keep our children safe. It’s not easy and we are not perfect, mistakes will be made. Whether it be social media, the phone, or an event outside of the house things will occur that we as parents aren’t always able to handle. Mistakes will be made but realistically, no one is perfect all the time. We can continue to be vigilant, at least then we know we are trying, and we are working on whatever needs to be worked on.
One last note: Just as all parents should be offered every possible resource to help them raise their children, every teacher should have access to every resource that will make their job easier in teaching our children.