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

Facebook fundamentals – privacy settings you can share with your students

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 does Snapchat really work and why is it so popular among teens?

Mark Kingham Mark Kingham

In the midst of a zillion “likes” and “shares” on Facebook and Instagram, Snapchat offers a simple yet unique experience to share pictures and videos, which are viewable for a limited time.

Snapchat is a social media platform where photos and video are shared or viewed for no more than 10 seconds, after which they permanently disappear. It also has unique features including fun filters, face swap and typing or drawing over pictures. You can also join several pictures together to create a “story”, which can be viewed by others for up to 24 hours.

How this popular app works:

When you download the app, the primary screen opens in camera view. You can swipe down to go to the contacts screen and add or search contacts.

You can click pictures, customise them, draw icons, type captions, shoot videos, chat with friends and create stories. Likewise, you can view media from your contacts and screenshot their snaps on your phone which notifies respective senders. Eventually, you end up with a follower base and broadcast your media to them. The newer version has Snapchat memories, Slo-mo, Force touch features for easy use.

With all these attributes, Snapchat has become hugely popular, not only among teens but also among users aged between 25 and 34 years. A survey states that nearly 50% of teens in the UK now use the app. Here are some reasons why it’s so popular:

It’s all about “now”

Snapchat enables users to instantly upload without editing and allows faster communication. A study shows that Snapchat has managed to revolutionise how mobile phone users think about communication driven by images.

Creativity with security

The ephemeral feature of this app instils a sense of safety which allows users the freedom to share and communicate things they may not otherwise feel they can. The app’s features ensure there are no limits to users’ creativity. Features such as screenshot notifications and stringent privacy setting options may also appeal to those concerned with privacy. This article explains how children may operate Snapchat under parental control.

Personalised connections

Users with caption spiced-up snaps and Snapchat stories tend to build their follower base. Teens are captivated by  three-dimensional stickers which can be “pinned” to people, places or things in pictures and videos as they move. In addition, snapchatters can apply multiple pictographs at once for a digitally appealing experience.

It has been said that a picture is worth a thousand words; however, if it is available for only a few seconds, it seems to be worth a thousand shares or likes, in the world of social networking! If used judiciously, social media apps such as Snapchat can provide a positive method of communication amongst young people.

Snapchat appears to be yet another priceless gem in the crown of digital media. As it gains in popularity among young people, it is worth becoming as well-acquainted with all its features as your child or pupil. To find out more, why not follow us on Twitter or LinkedIn?

PRESS RELEASE: Parent Zone and Securus join forces to help schools meet KCSIE duties

IT Communication, e-learning. Internet network as knowledge base
Securus Securus

Wednesday 2 November 2016, London

Parent Zone has joined forces with leading e-Safety software and monitoring company Securus to help secondary schools comply with the Department for Education’s Keeping Children Safe in Education (KCSIE) statutory guidance.

Securus will buy each of its new secondary school customers Parent Zone’s Digital Schools membership (worth £600), which offers a host of resources for schools to keep children safe, support resilience and educate them for a digital future.

The KCSIE guidance, which came into force on 5 September this year, requires schools to:

  • have appropriate filtering and monitoring systems in place;
  • have an effective policy for dealing with incidents of concern that have been flagged up by the monitoring software;
  • ensure that pupils and staff are kept up to date and informed about online safety (an additional responsibility that was introduced this year);
  • ensure that pupils are not excessively blocked or over monitored to the extent that it restricts their educational opportunities.

Securus’s software monitors a school’s network for incidents which breach its acceptable use policy. For example, if a student was to Google a word on a school’s watch list, such as ‘pornography’, it will be captured and flagged up by the monitoring system.

Greg Johnson, CEO of Securus says: ‘We are thrilled to be partnering with Parent Zone and have long admired the work that Vicki Shotbolt and her team do. At Securus, e-Safety is not just our business – it is our passion. Like Parent Zone, we believe that the way to improve outcomes for young people in a digital world is by teaching children, parents and teachers how to enjoy the benefits of modern technology, while avoiding its inherent dangers. By working in partnership, Parent Zone and Securus can reach an even wider audience and achieve our common aim of promoting lasting improvements in online behaviour and the safe and responsible use of new technologies.’


Vicki Shotbolt, CEO of Parent Zone says: ‘Now that Digital Schools membership is delivered alongside Securus’s software system, schools will know how to respond and effectively deal with online concerns such as cyberbully, sexting and grooming.

‘Our Digital Schools membership offers a host of resources designed to give schools the support that they need in the digital age, enhancing the software system and package sold by Securus.’

To find out more please contact or call 020 704 0415.

About Securus

Securus is the market leader in e-Safety solutions for education. The company’s mission is to ensure children, staff and businesses are protected against the threats that exist in today’s digital age. Securus aim is to promote lasting improvements in online behaviour and the safe and responsible use of new technologies.

About Parent Zone

Parent Zone is the leading organisation supporting parents in the digital age. Parent Zone works with parents, schools and companies to make the internet work for families by offering expert advice and content. Parent Zone works with parents, schools and companies to make the internet work for families by offering expert advice and content.

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