Online Social Networking Sites: Ethical Concerns for Teachers Christiana Byrne February 10, 2009
Rationale The purpose of this presentation is to inform teachers of the unique ethical issues posed by their participation in online social networking sites, such as MySpace and FaceBook. These sites are incredibly popular, and many teachers, as well as students use these services. As this is a relatively new phenomenon, there is currently much debate in regards to its ethical use by teachers. In order to increase teachers’ awareness, this presentation will address the key areas of concern, discuss trends in school policy, and highlight examples of clearly unethical teacher behavior in relation to these sites.
Objectives • Teachers will recognize the public nature of online social networking websites. • Teachers will understand the relationship between the material they post online and the teachers’ ethical code of conduct. • Teachers will be able to judge whether it is appropriate to maintain online relationships with students. • Teachers will be able to give examples of recent trends in school policies and cases of unethical teacher behavior concerning online networking websites.
Contents • What are Online Social Networks? • Code of Ethics and Online Postings • Online Teacher/Student Relationships • School Policy • Examples of Inappropriate and Illegal Online Teacher Behavior • Conclusion
What are Online Social Networks? • User posts profile • MySpace and FaceBook • Public
Code of Ethics and Online Postings “The education profession is vested by the public with a trust and responsibility requiring the highest ideals of professional service.”(nea.org) • Teachers are role models. • Teachers disciplined for offensive, crude, and sexually oriented web postings.(suite101.com) • Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VMJM-SQjUBc
Online Teacher/Student Relationships • 96% of students have used social networking technology. (nsba.org) • 50% of online students talk about homework.
Online Teacher/Student Relationships NEA Code of Ethics: The educator... • 6. Shall not unfairly-- (c.) Grant any advantage to any student. • 7. Shall not use professional relationships with students for private advantage. (nea.org) • Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dOJn8jyH2pg
School Policy • Most schools have no clear policy. • Districts recognize a need. • Jefferson City, MO- Bill proposed. • Scituate, MA- Policy drafted. • Two Mississippi school districts imposed a ban.
Examples of Inappropriate and Illegal Online Teacher Behavior • 1 in 5 teachers in Ohio disciplined for inappropriate sexual behavior used the internet. (sexlaws.org) • Teacher sent sexual images to a 14-year-old over MySpace. (dnj.com) • Teaching assistant posted disturbing messages on student’s MySpace page. (wmur.com)
Conclusion- Teacher Ethics and Online Social Networks: • Online social networks are public. • Do not post inappropriate material. • Be cautious about online relationships with students. • Follow school policy. • Be aware of the rampant unethical use of these sites- do not do anything that can be misinterpreted.
References: • http://www.boston.com/news/local/articles/2007/04/16/scituate_eyes_teachers_use_of_networking_websites/ • http://www.columbiamissourian.com/stories/2008/01/30/education-committee-chairwoman-proposes-teacher-st/ • http://www.dnj.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20071023/NEWS01/710230312 • http://www.nea.org/home/10531.htm • http://www.nsba.org/site/docs/41400/41340.pdf • http://school-staff-issues.suite101.com/article.cfm/social_networking_sites_and_teacher_integrity • http://www.sexlaws.org/new_jersey_teacher_arrested_for_graphic_images_broadcast_over_myspace • http://www.tcpalm.com/news/2008/jun/02/palm-beach-county-teachers-post-questionable-conte/ • http://www.wmur.com/education/14857818/detail.html
Online Articles for Further Reading: • http://www.cnn.com/2008/TECH/08/12/studentsteachers.online/index.html?iref=newssearch • http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/04/27/AR2008042702213_pf.html