Social Networking Policy

INTRODUCTION TO THE POLICY

The school is aware and acknowledges that increasing numbers of adults and children are using social networking sites. These may include Facebook, Twitter, Snap Chat, Instagram and this list is not definitive.

The widespread availability and use of social networking application bring opportunities to understand, engage and communicate with audiences in new ways. It is important that we are able to use these technologies and services effectively and flexibly. However, it is also important to ensure that we balance this with the mental well-being and safety of all its stakeholders and our school reputation. This policy and associated guidance is to protect staff and advise school leadership on how to deal with potential inappropriate use of social networking sites.


For example, our use of social networking applications has implications for our duty to safeguard children, young people and vulnerable adults. The policy requirements in this document aims to provide this balance to support innovation whilst providing a framework of good practices.

PURPOSE

The purpose of this policy is to ensure:

  • Social networking discipline and online safety.
  • That the school is not exposed to legal risks.
  • That the reputation of the school is not adversely affected.
  • That our users are able to clearly distinguish where information provided via social networking applications is legitimately representative of the school.

Facebook is targeted at older teenagers and adults. They have a ‘No under 13’ registration policy and recommend parental guidance for 13 to 16 year olds.

The following are extracts from Facebook privacy policy:

“If you are under age 13, please do not attempt to register for Facebook or provide any personal information about yourself to us. If we learn that we have collected personal information from a child under age 13, we will delete that information as quickly as possible. If you believe that we might have any information from a child under age 13, please contact us”. “We strongly recommend that minors 13 years of age or older ask their parents for permission before sending any information about themselves to anyone over the Internet and we encourage parents to teach their children about safe internet use practices. Materials to help parents talk to their children about safe internet use can be found on this help page”.

SCOPE

This policy covers the use of social networking applications by all school stakeholders, including, employees, vendors and pupils. These groups are referred to collectively as ‘school representatives’ or ‘stakeholders’ for brevity.

The requirements of this policy apply to all uses of social networking applications which are used for any school related purpose and regardless of whether the School representatives are contributing in an official capacity to social networking applications provided by external organisations.

Social networking applications include, but are not limited to:

  • Blogs, for example Blogger and Memes etc.
  • Online discussion forums.
  • Collaborative spaces, such as Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat etc.
  • Media sharing services, for example YouTube etc.
  • ‘Micro-blogging’ applications, for example Twitter etc.

All school stakeholders should bear in mind that information they share through social networking applications, even if they are on private spaces, are still subject to copyright, data protection and other legislation. They must also operate in line with the school’s discipline, anti-bullying and child protection policy.

SOCIAL NETWORKING AS PART OF SCHOOL SERVICE

All proposals for using social networking applications as part of a school service (whether they are hosted by the school or by a third party) must be approved by the Principal first. School representatives must adhere to the following Terms of Use within the policy.

The Terms of Use below apply to all uses of social networking applications by all school representatives/stakeholders. This includes, but is not limited to, public facing applications such as open discussion forums and internally-facing uses such as project blogs or chat rooms regardless of whether they are hosted on school network or not.

Where applications allow the posting of messages online, users must be mindful that the right to freedom of expression attaches only to lawful conduct. Sat Paul Mittal School expects that users of social networking applications will always exercise the right of freedom of expression with due consideration for the rights of others and strictly in accordance with these Terms of Use.

TERMS OF USE

Social Networking applications

  • Must not be used to publish any content which may result in actions for defamation, discrimination, breaches of copyright, data protection or other claim for damages. This includes but is not limited to material of an illegal, sexual or offensive nature that may bring the school or its stakeholders into disrepute.
  • Must not be used for the promotion of personal financial interests, commercial ventures or personal campaigns.
  • Must not be used in an abusive or hateful manner.
  • Must not be used for actions that would put school representatives in breach of school codes of conduct or policies relating to staff.
  • Must not breach the school’s misconduct, equal opportunities or bullying and harassment policies.
  • Must not be used to discuss or advise any matters relating to school matters, staff, pupils or parents.
  • References should not be made to any staff member, pupil, parent or school activity / event unless prior permission has been obtained and agreed with the Principal.
  • Staff and students should be aware that if their out-of-work /out- of –school activity causes potential embarrassment for the school or detrimentally effects the school’s reputation then the school is entitled to take disciplinary action.
  • Violation of this policy will be considered as gross misconduct and can result in disciplinary action being taken against the guilty.
  • The school reserves the right to upload videos and pictures that they deem to be adequate on school social media platforms.
  • The school does not take responsibility of students sharing their thoughts and views on any sensitive issues on any social media platform.
Guidance/protection for staff on using social networking
  • No member of staff should interact with any pupil in the school on social networking sites
  • No member of staff should interact with any ex-pupil in the school on social networking sites who is under the age of 18
  • This means that no member of the school staff should request access to a pupil’s area on the social networking site. Neither should they permit the pupil access to the staff members’ area e.g. by accepting them as a friend.
  • It is illegal for an adult to network, faking their age and status.
  • No members of staff should be accessing social media sites, or using personal devices during the school day with the exception of lunch (personal times). No staff should make any reference to school at any point in time on any form of social media.
  • If you have any evidence of pupils or adults using social networking sites in the working day, please report to the respective Heads.
Guidance/protection for Pupils on using social networking
  • No pupil under 13 should be accessing social networking sites. This is the guidance from Facebook. There is a mechanism on Facebook where pupils can be reported via the Help screen; at the time of time of writing this policy the direct link for this is: http://www.facebook.com/help/contact.php?show_form=underage
  • No pupil may access social networking sites during the school working day.
  • No school computers are to be used to access social networking sites at any time of day.
Child protection guidance

If the Principal receives a disclosure that an adult employed by the school is using a social networking site in an inappropriate manner as detailed above, she should:

  • Record the disclosure in line with the child protection policy.
  • She must refer the matter to the CPC.
  • If the disclosure has come from a parent, take normal steps to discuss with the parent and explain processes.
  • If disclosure comes from a member of staff, try to maintain confidentiality.
  • The CPC will advise whether the member of staff should be suspended pending investigation after contact with the police. It is not recommended that action is taken until advice has been given.
  • If disclosure is from a child, follow your normal process as given in the child protection policy.
Cyber Bullying

By adopting the recommended no use of social networking sites on school premises, Sat Paul Mittal School protects themselves from accusations of complicity in any cyber bullying through the provision of access.

Parents as well as all the stakeholders should be clearly aware of the school’s policy of access to social networking sites.

Where a disclosure of bullying is made, school will investigate and protect the bullied and provide support to the aggrieved member and family.

This can be a complex area, and these examples might help:

A child is receiving taunts on Facebook and text from an ex-pupil who moved three months ago: This is not a school responsibility, though the school might contact the new school to resolve the issue.

A child is receiving taunts from peers. It is all at weekends using gaming devices, Snapchat and Facebook. The school’s responsibility ceases as the bullying incident has taken place outside the school premises. The school will investigate and help, protect and provide all support to the bullied victim. However, they are also fully within their rights to warn all the parents (including the victim) that they are condoning the use of Facebook outside the terms and conditions of the site and that they are expected to ensure that use of the site stops. At any further referral to the school, the school could legitimately say that the victims and perpetrators had failed to follow the schools recommendations. In many cases the social media sites stipulate age 13 as part of their policy for usage. Once disclosure is made, investigation will have to involve the families. This should be dealt with under the school’s anti bullying policy.

If parent / caretakers refuse to engage and bullying continues, it can be referred to the police as harassment This guidance can also apply to text and mobile phone cyber bullying.

STUDENT ACCEPTABLE USE POLICY AGREEMENT

I understand that I must use school systems in a responsible way, to ensure that there is no risk to my safety or to the safety and security of the systems and other users.

FOR MY OWN PERSONAL SAFETY:
  • I understand that the school will monitor my use of the systems, devices and digital communications.
  • I will keep my username and password safe and secure – I will not share it, nor will I try to use any other person’s username and password. I understand that I should not write down or store a password where it is possible that someone may steal it.
  • I will be aware of “stranger danger”, when I am communicating on-line.
  • I will not disclose or share personal information about myself or others when on-line (this could include names, addresses, email addresses, telephone numbers, age, gender, educational details, financial details etc.)
  • I will immediately report any unpleasant or inappropriate material or messages or anything that makes me feel uncomfortable when I see it on-line.

I understand that everyone has equal rights to use technology as a resource and:

  • I understand that the school systems and devices are primarily intended for educational use and that I will not use them for personal or recreational use unless I have permission.
  • I will not try (unless I have permission) to make large downloads or uploads that might take up internet capacity and prevent other users from being able to carry out their work.
  • I will not use the school systems or devices for on-line gaming, on-line gambling, internet shopping, file sharing, or video broadcasting (e.g. YouTube), unless I have permission of a member of staff to do so.

I will act as I expect others to act toward me:

  • I will respect others’ work and property and will not access, copy, remove or otherwise alter any other user’s files, without the owner’s knowledge and permission.
  • I will be polite and responsible when I communicate with others, I will not use strong, aggressive or inappropriate language and I appreciate that others may have different opinions.
  • I will not take or distribute images of anyone without their permission.

I recognise that the school has a responsibility to maintain the security and integrity of the technology it offers me and to ensure the smooth running of the school:

  • I understand that, if I do use my own devices in the school, I will follow the rules set out in this agreement, in the same way as if I was using school equipment.
  • I understand the risks and will not try to upload, download or access any materials which are illegal or inappropriate or may cause harm or distress to others, nor will I try to use any programmes or software that might allow me to bypass the filtering / security systems in place to prevent access to such materials.
  • I will immediately report any damage or faults involving equipment or software, however this may have happened.
  • I will not open any hyperlinks in emails or any attachments to emails, unless I know and trust the person / organisation who sent the email, or if I have any concerns about the validity of the email (due to the risk of the attachment containing viruses or other harmful programmes)
  • I will only use social media sites with permission and at the times that are allowed.
  • I will respect the school’s right to remove any video or post on school’s Facebook or Instagram pages that has copyright issues

When using the internet for research or recreation, I recognise that:

  • I should ensure that I will mention the source when using the original work of others in my own work
  • Where work is protected by copyright, I will not try to download the files (including music and videos)
  • When I am using the internet to find information, I should take care to check that the information that I access is accurate, as I understand that the work of others may not be truthful and may be a deliberate attempt to mislead me.

I understand that I am responsible for my actions, both in and out of school:

  • I understand that the school also has the right to take action against me if I am involved in incidents of inappropriate behaviour, that are covered in this agreement (examples would be cyber-bullying, use of images or personal information).
  • I understand that if I fail to comply with this Acceptable Use Policy Agreement, I will be subject to disciplinary action. This may include, reformatory tasks, suspensions, contact with parents and in the event of illegal activities involvement of the police.

STUDENT ACCEPTABLE USE AGREEMENT FORM

Please complete the sections below to show that you have read, understood and agree to the rules included in the Acceptable Use Agreement.

I have read and understand the above and agree to follow these guidelines when:

  • I use the school systems and devices in the school
  • I use my own devices in the school (when allowed) e.g. mobile phones, gaming devices USB devices, cameras etc.
  • I use my own equipment out of the school in a way that is related to me being a member of this school e.g. communicating with other members of the school, accessing school email, school ERP website etc.
  • I will not use User Id provided by School to create ANY other online account[ Social Media, Online Shopping, Share Market, Gaming, Apps and Software download, Inappropriate Sites etc.]

This document is an acceptance that I have read the terms and conditions of the agreement and abide by the same.