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Teachers warned about friending pupils

Facebook Social Networking site

Facebook Social Networking site

At the UK’s National Union of Teachers’ Conference on Sunday, teachers were being warned not to “friend” pupils on Facebook amid concerns over the blurring of boundaries between school staff’s professional and private lives.

Teachers were told that pupils are getting access to potentially embarrassing information about teachers on their Facebook pages, while principals are increasingly using information posted on Social Networking to screen candidates for jobs.

Formspring

Teachers were also warned about the rise of a new site, called Formspring, which enables users to post comments and questions without identifying themselves.

A website used by schoolchildren to spread anonymous gossip was closed down earlier this year, after what its owners said was abuse by a “minority of irresponsible people.” Little Gossip, which started in November, had been criticised for failing to remove schools from a list of institutions users could gossip about.

There is new concern about the potential misuse of the Formspring site, which is said to have a “much bigger user base” than Little Gossip.

Debbie Woodward

Debbie is a FETAC qualified trainer and delivers Social Media training for the Sligo County Enterprise Board in Ireland. Debbie also delivers talks on Internet Safety to parents and students in schools and also teachers in education centres. You can find Debbie on Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+.

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