SOCIAL MEDIA POLICY

Rationale

The rise of increased access to global communication and the popularity of public social media networks poses potential risks for users given its unregulated nature. St. George International School of Sofia recognises the opportunities presented by the use of public social media sites in an educational setting, but also seeks to protect school stakeholders from any potential issues that may arise.

Aim

We aim to provide guidelines to protect all school stakeholders from any risk posed by public social media sites. Public social media networks are defined to include: Websites, blogs, wikis, online forums and virtual environments that fall outside of school regulated online pages (i.e. Facebook, Twitter, Myspace, Skype, LinkedIn, VK, etc…).

Implications

Students

  • The school will provide ‘public social media’ safety classes as appropriate (incorporated into ICT and PSHE syllabus).
  • Students should not use public social media in the school.
  • Students should not seek to communicate with staff online, outside of school sanctioned systems.
  • Students are advised to set the privacy settings of any social media sites they use to their highest available settings.
  • Students are advised to think carefully about the content they post online; could the material posted be harmful or embarrassing in years to come?
  • Students should be aware of ‘cyber-bullying’ and avoid situations that may hurt or harm themselves or others.

Staff

  • Staff should not access public social media sites from school networks unless for the purpose of school business and with permission of their line manager.
  • Staff should not use their school issued email address for communication on public social networks that has not been approved by the school.
  • Staff should not communicate online with students outside of school provided email addresses or systems.
  • Staff should not ‘friend’, ‘follow’ or similar, students, nor provide personal email addresses unless the student is both over the age of 18, and no longer a member of this school.
  • Staff should not make public postings or comments that may damage the reputation of the school, nor should they act as a spokesperson for the school unless granted permission by their line manager.
  • Staff should not disclose on public social networks, any information that is confidential or proprietary to students, staff, parents or the school.
  • Staff should not use the school’s logo on any public social media networks without permission.
  • Staff should not post photos of students on any public social media networks.
  • Staff are advised to set the privacy settings of any public social media sites they use to the highest available settings.
  • Staff are advised to remember that once posted online, material should be considered as forever available; think carefully about what you post online. Any communication received from children on any personal social media sites must be reported to the staff member’s line manager. If any member of staff is aware of any inappropriate communications involving any child in any social media, these must immediately be reported as above.

Staff are advised not to accept or invite any ex-pupil of the school under the age of 18 as a friend, follower, subscriber or similar on any personal social media, or provide personal email addresses.

Parents

Parents are advised to carefully monitor their child’s public media usage and intervene as necessary.

Non-Compliance

SGIS recognises the importance of the Social Media Policy and provides mechanisms for investigating and resolving non-compliance through the Anti-Bullying Policy, Behaviour Policy and School Regulations. All stakeholders should feel safe and secure in raising concerns with the appropriate member(s) of staff.

To be read in conjunction with SGIS’s:

  • Child Protection Law
  • Law for Education and Science of Republic of Bulgaria
  • George International School Regulations
  • ICT Policy
  • Anti-Bullying Policy
  • Safeguarding Children Policy
  • Staff Code of Conduct
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