Yeah, that headline caught your attention didn’t it? I saw this article on Social networking sites can be mine fields for teachers in The Salt Lake Tribune and thought I’d make a comment or two on it.
It’s not a new story by any means. Student and teachers see each other on a daily basis. And, when the age difference between the two can be as little as four years, it only seems normal that hormones could come into play. It’s been in the news, teachers crossing the lines with students. Add to that the prevalence of social networking and the fact that a teacher entering the workforce now has always had Facebook and MySpace, both launched in 2004 and you have a whole new venue for potential trouble.
Does that mean as a teacher you shouldn’t be on MySpace or Facebook? I don’t think so, but I think it is important as an educator that you think about the potential implications of being friends with students on such social networks. Additionally, as an educator, if you were to see students engaging in illegal activities on a social networking site, would you be required, ethically, to say something?
Even now, college students are finding out that employers are looking at social networking sites before hiring an individual. Don’t think it’s true? I can tell you that I personally check facebook when considering student hires. The same would be true for a full time hire. It would be the same thing as checking for published papers to see what an individual’s perspective is on a particular subject. So, just remember, that keg stand you did in college could come back to haunt you in the end. Social networking, while great for keeping in touch with friends, can be a double edged sword.
So what is the answer? Where are the lines drawn? I don’t know. I think the area is just going to get grayer…. just like my hair.