Why Teachers Need to be Aware of Social Media February 16, 2018 Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest – there’s a whole world of social media platforms out there. It’s an ever-growing way of life, and more and more people are signing up to social media on a daily basis. Teachers across the UK are using social media for personal use as well as to enable learning and collaboration among students in the classroom. Teachers using social media often turn to the platforms for educational purposes. It’s no longer just a way to stay in touch with friends, it’s now a great source of resources and education. Social media has its benefits! However, if used incorrectly and unsafely, it’s a place that can damage a teacher’s reputation. Here’s why teachers need to be aware of social media. Are your social media platforms set to private? Social media privacy is of the utmost importance. You don’t want students to be able to find your profile online and start looking at your personal life. It’s incredibly important that you keep your work and personal life separate, but on social media it’s easy to forget this. The majority of social media platforms should allow you to change the visibility of your account, allowing you to change the settings so that you can edit who views or engages with you online. Handy tip: to stop their pupils from finding them online, many teachers change their account display name to something different. This could either be a nickname or a middle name to make it harder for students to find them. Have you got a strong password? When setting up your account, you want to choose a password that no one should be able to guess. Though they may be memorable, try to stay away from commonly used passwords such as ‘123456’ or ‘password’ as it may not be long before someone cracks the code. Choose something personal to you or randomly select a mix of letters, numbers and symbols in order to help keep your account safe. Do you know who you’re engaging with? As a notification pops up saying that Joe Bloggs has requested to be your friend or to follow your account, think before you click confirm. Do you really know who this person is? By simply accepting every request, it can often be difficult to know who is looking at your profile. Always try and make sure that a profile is genuine before accepting, too. As a general rule for teachers on social media, don’t accept requests from students or their parents. Are you careful with what you post? Once you post something on social media, it’s there to stay. Even if you’ve deleted it, the chances are that someone’s already seen it before you’ve had time to think twice about posting it. Another good thing to do is to have the settings tailored so that you have to approve what shows on your timeline when other people tag you in something. This way you can control what shows up on your profile.