Securus

e-Safety and user monitoring solutions for education and the enterprise

Facebook fundamentals – privacy settings you can share with your students

Facebook
Greg Johnson Greg Johnson

Classroom instruction has undergone a major shift, with technology replacing many traditional means of teaching and interaction. Today, teachers increasingly use social media as a platform for communicating with their pupils and as a hub for discussion with both parents and students. Facebook pages have become a great way to post updates for students and also keep parents informed about classroom activities.

On the flip side, however, social media can create a dilemma for educators when it comes to separating their professional and personal profiles online. Pupils may be intrigued by their teachers’ lives and take a look at their private photos or check out their network of friends So, is it possible for teachers to maintain privacy in the digital sphere?

If you are an educator who is wondering how you can use social media in the classroom without compromising your privacy, here are a few tips that can help your personal profile remain discrete from your professional one.

The very first step – check your privacy settings

Click on the lock symbol on the Facebook toolbar and it will take you through a three-part privacy check to determine who can view and access your posts and profile. Always ensure that this is set to “friends”. If a little globe icon appears when you are about to share an update, it means that the post will be public and that you need to re-set your privacy settings.

See how your profile appears to the public

If you want to check how your profile appears when viewed by the general public or by a particular friend, Facebook has the “View as” tool that appears as three dots at the top of your profile page, beside the “view Activity log” button. This will show you exactly what is visible to others when they access your personal page and you can then take necessary steps to filter that information.

Set up “Pages” or “Groups”

You can set up a page or create a group on Facebook that your students can access and use to communicate with each other and share updates. These pages are independent of your personal profile and you do not need to add the members of your group as friends. You can also customise the privacy settings of this group to disclose only what you choose to share with your professional connections.

Protect your friend network

As almost the whole world is on Facebook, you will be invariably connected to half of that world. If a student does manage to find you, chances are that they may stumble upon the contacts on your friend list and access profiles of several other teachers and common acquaintances. You can prevent this by clicking on the Friends tab on your profile and then the pencil icon, appearing at the top right-hand corner.

Make your past photos inaccessible

You may prefer to keep your old photos from your earliest posts on Facebook private.

You can apply the “Limit old posts” option by going to Settings and then to Privacy. To keep it most secure, you could select “friends only” from the list.

Clean up the apps

When we play games on Facebook, we inadvertently give the app the permission to access our profiles and post to our timelines. It is best to be in complete control of what is being posted on your behalf. Therefore, it is worthwhile doing a regular clean-up of your apps by deleting them from the Settings tab.

Make your profile inaccessible to search engines

The easiest way to find information on a topic or on a person is to look them up on Google. One way to prevent your students from being able to find you online is to ensure that your profile does not appear in the search results by Google or other search engines. In order to do this, go to your Privacy Settings and edit the search engine option.

Watch out for the tags

Friends may tag you in posts as a reminder of the good times you have shared, but these posts might be more informal than the image you would prefer to project to your students. As you have no control over the audience who sees the post, it is best to remove the tag and request your friends delete the posts altogether. You can also customise the options in the Timeline and Tagging section in Settings, to limit the tags that show up on your timeline.

How to boost the morale of a cyberbullying victim

Cyberbullying
Mark Kingham Mark Kingham

With the world becoming increasingly digital and the Internet a necessity, everybody, including children, should be given an equal opportunity to embrace this technology and develop as an integral part of our new digital world.

However, as parents and teachers it is understandable that you could have concerns about cyberbullying.  To keep your children or pupils safe online, teach them how to face cyberbullying with confidence. Start by implementing a culture of respect and safety right from the beginning and reassure them that cyberbullying is preventable.

The Cyber Scene project led by Masterclass is an interesting example of how to deal with cyberbullying and build innovative approaches to tackle such issues. The project was conducted in partnership with the anti-bullying charity Kidscape and a team of professional theatre makers. It revealed that working with young people in this medium helps explore and share their experiences of cyberbullying, as well as the effects it has on them and their peers.

Raising the curtain on cyberbullying

Have you considered using drama as a way to explore this topic? The Masterclass project creatively depicts how theatre-based workshops can help boost the morale of a victim. Let’s delve a bit deeper into the project.

Why theatre?

Through theatre workshops, the team at Masterclass develop victims’ stories into a play that is performed by them on stage. They also get the chance to work with a publisher to publish the play once it has been written. In order to raise public awareness about the very real and serious issues facing young people online, the team documents the project in the form of a recording, video, blog and of course, a performance.

“The Masterclass theatre project funded by the Royal British Legion was a turning point in my recovery. While the medical teams put my body back together, taking part in the play ‘The Two Worlds of Charlie F’ gave me back my self-esteem and confidence when it was at its lowest ebb,” said Cassidy Little, from Bravo 22 Company.

How can teachers deal with cyberbullying?

Read our article from the archives to get a thorough understanding of what cyberbullying is.  Here are some ways to help your pupils fight cyberbullying with confidence.

Understand

Cyberbullying can happen anywhere and therefore it is advisable for teachers to be aware of the forms that cyberbullying can take and its characteristics. Also, teachers should be aware of their school’s policy on tackling bullying, and how to prevent and respond to such incidents.

Prevent

To prevent cyberbullying in schools, teachers need to be proactive in discussing the issue with pupils. This will help students feel more comfortable in coming forward and sharing their experiences. In addition, awareness of cyberbullying must be raised across the whole school. It is not enough for just the teachers to be involved, the entire school community must join hands to promote mutual respect and trust, which can help combat cyberbullying.

Respond

Whenever a student encounters a situation that makes them uncomfortable online, it is important that they feel empowered to seek help from their teachers. Both teachers and pupils need to know how to raise their concerns. Students should also be advised never to respond to upsetting images or messages. Instead, they should be encouraged to save those messages for evidence.

If your school has been looking out for an e-Safety solution software that will help you detect cyberbullying incidents, then contact us today.

The role of education in preventing online radicalisation

online-radicalisation
Greg Johnson Greg Johnson

Education plays an important role in developing a student’s personality. Children spend much of their waking hours in school and teachers have a responsibility in helping their students reach their full potential. Ensuring the social and emotional development of children is a critical aspect of a teacher’s role. Therefore, they have a profound effect on the lives of their students.

Some believe that educating children contributes to solving many of the contemporary world’s problems. Be it poverty or gender discrimination, a good education can combat all this and more.

With advances in technology, teachers and students alike are making use of the Internet to supplement lectures, get access to online courses and extra materials and resources. The Web is now akin to a worldwide virtual school. According to an article published in The Guardian, children are referring to the Internet more than ever before, not just for educational purposes but for recreational purposes too.

With students as young as four using the Internet, it is in their best interests to safeguard them against its more unscrupulous elements. Online radicalisation is one such potential hazard. This can happen when an individual accesses extremist views and starts to believe and support them. This may also result in a change in behaviour and beliefs. Our earlier article highlighted why radicalisation is a serious issue which needs immediate attention.

What can schools and educators do, according to the law?

The UK Government published the Prevent Duty Guidance in 2015, which listed the duties of schools in tackling online radicalisation. It states:

“[Schools] are subject to the duty to have due regard to the need to prevent people from being drawn into terrorism. Being drawn into terrorism includes not just violent extremism but also non-violent extremism, which can create an atmosphere conducive to terrorism and can popularise views which terrorists exploit.”

This does not mean students are barred from discussing sensitive topics like terrorist ideologies and extremist ideas. But it does mean that schools are advised to be mindful of presenting a balanced approach to these issues.

Risk assessment

The guidance expects schools and educators to assess the risk of children being drawn into terrorism. There should be a general understanding of the risks that can affect children as well as identifying children who may be at risk of being radicalised. Teachers must be aware of what to do to support such children.

Staff training

If Head Teachers and others in leadership positions ensure that staff understand radicalisation, they will have the capabilities to deal with it. They will be better equipped to challenge extremist ideas and be more aware of where and how to handle students who need further help.

IT policies

Establishing appropriate levels of filtering can go a long way in ensuring the safety of students from terrorist and extremist material.

Working in partnership

Schools need to co-operate with local Prevent staff, police, civil society organisations and other appropriate agencies. Engaging with parents is also considered important as they may be in a key position to spot the signs of radicalisation.

Educators can also encourage an environment in which students can debate controversial issues. Teaching students to critically appraise online sources of information will help them build resilience to online radicalisation. For in-depth guidance, you can always refer to our article on building online resilience.

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