Whilst we have a fantastic cohort of young people attending our College, it would naïve of us to think that there are no Cybersafety or Netiquette issues amongst the student body. Some recent occurrences have highlighted the fact that the whole College community – students, parents and teachers – need to embrace positive and productive usage of technology both in social and educational settings.
Facebook is a massive phenomenon. Millions, it not billions of individuals and organisations are using Facebook to stay in touch and promote themselves and their products. It is so popular because it is effective, easy and fun. Unfortunately, it is human nature for some misguided individuals to use Facebook for negative purposes, and this is why we have to be vigilant as a College community.
Firstly, it is common knowledge that Facebook is permitted for people of a minimum 13 years of age. In the Terms section of the site, the official wording says;
‘You will not use Facebook if you are under 13.’
We are aware that there are a number of scenarios that could be related to our College Facebook users:
- No Facebook account (for whatever reason)
- 13 + years of age with adult permission and supervision
- 13 + years of age with a Facebook account without parents’ knowledge
- Under 13 years of age with a secret Facebook account hidden from parents
- Under 13 years of age with a Facebook account and under constant parental supervision
- Under 13 years of age with parental approval for a Facebook account without supervision
- Under 13 years of age with parental approval for a Facebook account with irregular supervision
- Owner of ‘official’ supervised Facebook account, and an ‘unofficial’ Facebook account hidden from parents
Other scenarios like students maintaining fake Facebook accounts of other people or setting up ‘I hate …’ style Facebook accounts also exist in society.
The official College policy is that no student under the age of 13, as per the legal requirements of the Facebook organisation, should be maintaining a Facebook account. All parents should be monitoring what their children have displayed on their Facebook pages, and it is College policy that there are no images of students in College uniform to be displayed on any students’ Facebook page.