Are your kids friends with any of their teachers on Facebook? After new policies in many Boston-area schools, and talk of similar bans in surrounding school districts, this isn’t even an option. A recent Boston Globe article discusses new policies that don’t allow students or teachers to be friends on social networking sites, including Facebook.
One parent and school committee chairman says it’s because he doesn’t want his “kids to know what their teachers do after school or on the weekends…This not only protects the students, but it also protects the staff.” The reasons behind the ban suggest the problem of oversharing, as well as a general lack of privacy whether Facebook users realize it or not when posting information on their profiles. The same parent also said that by Googling “Facebook student-teacher relations,” the results are disturbing and include stories about sexual relationships initially developed over the Internet.
However, the primary reason for these Massachusetts school district policies are not because of the “horror stories;” the policies are under consideration because oversharing is such a common issue. Both students and teachers have a right to their privacy and individual lives and lifestyles outside of the classroom, and online friendships can take away from this privacy.
What do you think about students and teachers friending each other on Facebook? Do your kids interact with their teachers online, whether through email, Facebook, or other social networking sites?