Social Networking and Our Students

| April 17, 2011

In the year 2011, I would safely bet that all of our students either own a computer or have access to one. With these computers comes access to the internet and of course social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter. It seems to me that the age of people using these sites is getting younger. While Facebook started out as a site for college students, we now see middle schoolers using it. What happens when our middle, or high school students decide that they want to be Facebook friends with their teacher, or follow us on Twitter?  Do we accept or deny?

When it comes to Facebook, my belief is that we should not be friends with our students. I don’t want my students knowing about my personal life and I don’t want to know about their personal lives. Privacy settings are there for a reason; if a student stumbles upon my Facebook page I want them to see nothing. I wouldn’t broadcast my weekend plans to my students in the classroom and I feel that the internet is no different. It’s the equivalent of 25 years ago running into a student at a store or a sporting event; just because we’re both there it doesn’t mean we’re going to have a personal conversation and be friends.

If social networking is occurring between students and teachers it should be for educational purposes only; setting up a Twitter account that connects students to music resources or having a Facebook account for high school band where events can be created with the purpose of inviting people to performances.

I have spoken with people who believe that there is nothing wrong with being Facebook friends with students, they believe it’s part of today’s culture. I completely disagree; we are ┬ástill teachers, they are still students and that is a boundary necessary for the success of education.