Social Media / Networking Policy
SAXONWOLD PRIMARY SCHOOL SOCIAL MEDIA / NETWORKING POLICY
Last updated: 7 March 2021 – 11:38 am
Access means the right, opportunity or means of funding, or retrieving information;
Child means a person under the age of 18 years;
Cyberbullying means wilful and repeated harm inflicted through the use of computers, cell phones and other digital devices;
Social Media means a collection of interactive online platforms and tools that individuals, groups and organisations use to share content, profiles, opinions, insights, experiences, perspectives and media. It allows for the creation and exchange of user-generated content;
Social Networking Site means a web-based service that allows individuals to:
A. Build a public or semi-public profile;
B. Share contacts or friends with other users; and
C. View their lists of contacts or friends and those made by others within the system;
D. the nature and nomenclature of these contacts or friends may vary from site to site.
This policy is, among others, underpinned by:
– Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, 1996
– United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, 1989
– South African Schools Act, 1996 (Act 84 of 1996)
– Employment of Educators Act, 1998 (Act 76 of 1998)
– Government Social Media Policy, 2014
– Electronic Communications Act, 2005 (Act 36 of 2005)
– Films and Publications Act, 1996 (Act 65 of 1996)
– Protection from Harassment Act, 2011 (Act 17 of 2011)
- Criminal Law (Sexual Offences and Related Matters) Amendment Act, 2007 (Act 32 of 2007)
- Criminal Procedure Act, 1977 (Act 51 of 1977)
- Copyright Act, 1978 (Act 98 of 1978)
- Children’s Act, 2005 (Act 38 of 2005)
- Regulation of Interception of Communications and Provision of Communication-Related Information Act, 2002 (Act 70 of 2002)
- Guidelines on e-Safety in Schools, Department of Basic Education, 2010
This policy seeks to:
A. Regulate the use of social media and social networking at Saxonwold Primary School.
B. Offer learners the opportunities that multimedia learning can provide in a responsible and respectful manner in order to enrich the teaching and learning environment in our school.
C. Outline the responsibilities and behaviour expected of employees, learners and their parents, as users of social media and social networking, in particular, that:
1. All members of Saxonwold Primary School community and representatives of the school should take responsibility for the content written, recorded, displayed, posted or communicated online;
2. They should exercise good judgment and common sense at all times when contemplating any of the listed activities in sub-paragraph (1);
3. Participation on social media and social networking sites may result in the violation of school rules and the learners’ Code of Conduct, or be in contravention of existing laws; and
4. The use or participation in these sites should not negatively affect the name or impact on the reputation of the school.
This policy applies to all employees, learners and their parents at Saxonwold Primary School.
SOCIAL MEDIA AND SOCIAL NETWORKING
Social media and social networking are used to:
A. Participate in online communication in order to share an interest and gain or share knowledge;
B. Share music, art videos, opinions, collaborate on work or discussions and learn from one another;
C. Socialise by keeping in touch with existing friends and finding new ones, and to channel the promotion of a cause or product;
D. Allow users to link up with each other quickly and effectively, especially in a professional environment;
E. Further professional or personal goals through users communicating their opinions, values and experiences, or by creating impressive online CVs; and
F. Assist in lifelong learning and create communities of practice.
ASPECTS FOR CONSIDERATION IN OUR SCHOOL ENVIRONMENT
Employees, learners and their parents at Saxonwold Primary School must give due consideration to the following when using social media and social networking sites:
A. As with all online communication tools, the social media environment has to be managed so that it does not become all consuming.
B. Cognisance must be taken of copyright law when sharing these media and that modifying any work, comment or posting without permission of the author can affect the reputation of the author and other parties. Permission should be obtained at all times.
C. Privacy and circumspection apply as any communication forwarded to others and/or placed in the public domain must give credit to the source.
D. Social media networks are often visible to people from the user’s professional as well as personal life. This blurring of social and professional lines can result in embarrassing or otherwise inappropriate revelations, for instance when educators and learners invite or connect on social media, they must be aware that aspects of their profile are visible to other learners and employees.
E. Users should familiarise themselves with privacy settings and avoid sharing information they may not wish to be in the public domain.
F. Users should avoid or take care not to share compromising images or inappropriate messages that may damage their reputation later on in life.
RESPONSIBILITIES WITH REGARD TO SOCIAL MEDIA / NETWORKING
7.1 THE SCHOOL
The school must draw up and formally put in place a policy on the use of social media in order to:
A. Sensitise learners and employees to the appropriate etiquette for each online environment; educate learners on critical thinking skills and digital literacy to enable them to navigate safely through the online world;
B. Guide learners to understand the need to select the most suitable communication tools for their educational and social experiences;
C. Ensure that learners are aware of the potential negative effects of Internet use;
D. Teach learners in an age-appropriate manner about the risks and dangers involved in the use of social media, particularly when some of the risks and dangers occur both in the home and school context (i.e. cyberbullying);
E. Encourage learners to act responsibly and be aware of the consequences associated with the use of social media;
F. Specify when and for what purpose the use of social media platforms are acceptable;
G. Ensure that online activities planned by educators only include age- appropriate sites;
H. Guide learners to take responsibility and report inappropriate behaviour, or acts that may negatively affect the school and their fellow learners;
I. Advise learners and employees of behaviour that may be inconsistent with the Code of Conduct for learners and sanctions that may be imposed if found guilty of misconduct or serious misconduct in terms of the code and of transgressions of applicable legislation in the case of employees;
J. Outline a procedure for incidents which may have a potential for criminal accountability;
K. Accommodate incidents with child protection dimensions;
L. Inform learners and employees about the policy and ensure that the policy is made visible throughout the school; and
M. Insert an addendum for signature by each parent, educator and learner.
7.2 THE SAFE SCHOOL COMMITTEE
A. A team within the Safe School Committee of Saxonwold Primary School must manage e-Safety.
B. The team may comprise of one / more of the following members:
1. A member of the school management team;
2. The Head of Innovation (ICT & Digital Marketing);
3. An educator – librarian/counsellor/life skills educator;
4. A representative from the governing body;
5. A member of the representative council of learners; and
6. Other appropriate specialists, where practicable.]
C. The main responsibility of the team will be to develop, implement and enforce an acceptable social media policy (this policy), underpinned by the Code of Conduct for learners and employees at Saxonwold Primary School, and to ensure that:
1. All role players at Saxonwold Primary School are made aware of the content, the policy and consequences likely to flow from non- compliance;
2. Parents are encouraged to take reasonable steps to ensure that learners comply with the policy within and outside school premises; and
3. All stakeholders are informed of the types of incidents which may potentially attract sanctions and possible criminal accountability.
7.3 RESPONSIBILITY OF LEARNERS & PARENTS
Learners / Parents must:
A. Keep in mind the global scope of social media and qualify or limit their posts appropriately;
B. Be cordial, honest, fair, thorough and transparent when using social media;
C. Remember that although the use of social media may be easy,informal, fast and inexpensive, these electronic messages are permanent, transferable records that can affect the reputation of the school;
D. Obtain permission for the use of third-party or employee intellectual property rights, including copyright, patents, trademarks and videos;
E. Know that it is against the law to:
1. Become involved in identity theft;
2. Participate in hate or cult websites;
3. Buy or sell stolen goods on websites;
4. Divulge personal information or disclose confidential financial information regarding bank and credit cards by using unsecured bogus sites; and
5. Publish compromising information which may harm another individual’s reputation or dignity; it is also regarded as harassment to do something that they know could cause harm to another person, whether mental, psychological, or physical harm.
7.4 RESPONSIBILITY OF THE EMPLOYEE
A. The employee must never have online communication on a one-on- one basis with a learner, but always in a group context, for education purposes and for information sharing.
B. The employee must never invite or follow learners on social media, except on those sites which have been designed specifically for professional purposes in a group setting.
7.5 RESPONSIBILITY OF THE EDUCATOR
The educator must:
A. Guide learners to understand that what is permissible in a classroom, is acceptable online; and anything that is impermissible in a classroom, is also unacceptable online;
B. Be aware that online activities may impact on their personal reputation, image and ability to interact with colleagues and learners;
C. Be professional and courteous when interacting with others online;
D. Respect the needs for discretion and confidentiality with regard to personal information, and other sensitive information that may not be appropriate for public discussion;
E. Endeavour, within the bounds of reason, to remain neutral, objective and professional on issues presented and discussed by educational platforms or sites intended for educational purposes; and
F. Judiciously remove any material deemed offensive, inappropriate, off- topic, discourteous or otherwise annoying to other users.
Non-compliance by learners, employees and parents must be dealt with through the school’s Code of Conduct for learners, the Employment of Educators Act, 1998 (Act 76 of 1998) and the Public Service Act, 1994 (Proclamation 103 of 1994).
At Saxonwold Primary School, teachers, students, staff and other school community members use social networking / media (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, blogs, etc.) as a way to connect with others, as well as, but not limited to sharing educational resources, creating educational content, enhancing the classroom experience, and networking within and outside the school community.
While social media is fun and valuable, there are some risks we need to keep in mind when using these tools. In the social media world, the lines are often blurred between what is public or private, personal or professional.
Social media refers to online tools and services that allow any Internet user to create and publish content. Many of these sites use personal profiles where users post information about themselves.
Social media allows those with common interests to share content easily, expanding the reach of their ideas and work. Popular social media tools include Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, blogs, YouTube and Flickr to name a few.
Below are guidelines to follow when members of the school community (students, faculty, administrators, parents and staff) are representing Saxonwold Primary School on social media platforms, regardless of whether these are considered professional or personal spaces.
Use good judgment
- We expect good judgment in all situations. Behave in a way that will make you and others proud and reflect well on the school.
- Regardless of your privacy settings, assume that all of the information you have shared on your social network is public information.
- Always treat others in a respectful, positive, and considerate manner.
Be responsible and ethical
- Because you represent the school, please stick to discussing only those school-related matters that are within your area of responsibility.
- Adults should be open about their affiliation with the school and the role/position they hold.
- If you are someone’s peer, interact with them online if you are so inclined. If you are an employee thinking about interacting with a student, consider the following questions before proceeding. What is the purpose of my interaction with a student? (If it is not related to your classroom activities, reconsider using a social network.) What is the social network in which I propose to interact with a student? (If the social network in question has limited professional applications – Facebook, for instance – reconsider using that social network.) If you are uncertain how to proceed, consult your division head.
- Share and interact in a way that will enhance your reputation, the reputation of others, and the reputation of the school, rather than damage them.
Be a good listener
- Keep in mind that one of the biggest benefits of social media is that it gives others another way to talk to you, ask questions directly, and share feedback.
- Be responsive to others when conversing online. Provide answers, thank people for their comments, and ask for further feedback, etc.
Be accurate and appropriate
- Check all work for correct use of grammar and spelling before posting.
- A significant part of the interaction on blogs, Twitter, Facebook, and other social networks involves passing on interesting content or sharing links to helpful resources. However, never blindly repost a link without looking at the content first.
- Be sure to correct any mistake you make immediately, and make it clear what you’ve done to fix the mistake.
- Apologise for the mistake if the situation warrants it.
- If it’s a major mistake (e.g., exposing private information or reporting confidential information), please let your division head or supervisor know immediately so the school can take the proper steps to help minimise the impact it may have.
- Do not publish, post, or release information that is considered confidential or private. Online “conversations” are never private.
- Use caution if asked to share your birth date, address, and cell phone number on any website.
Respect private and personal information
- To ensure your safety, be careful about the type and amount of personal information you provide.
- Avoid talking about personal schedules or situations.
- Never share or transmit personal information of students, parents, faculty, staff, or colleagues online without their consent.
- While taking care when posting to safeguard people’s privacy, be sure – as necessary and appropriate – to give proper credit to sources. In cases of doubt, privacy should be the default.
- Generally use only first names of students. There may be special circumstances where a student is widely known for a particular achievement, in which case the use of the full name may be appropriate. If there is any doubt, use only first names or ask the Principal / Head of Innovation for guidance.
- Always respect the privacy of school community members.
Post with care
- Respect brand, trademark, copyright information and / or images of the school.
- Do not caption photos with the names of current students, unless approval has been granted by parents to do so..
- Do not post photos of students who are on the “Do Not Photo” list. (Ask the teacher or see the Principal / Head of Innovation for details.)
- Photos of learners are to be only posted online after receiving consent from parent/s as per this Consent Form.
- If anyone, for any reason, asks not to be filmed or photographed then their wishes should be respected.
- Under no circumstances should staff / learners / parents, other than the administrators of our social media / networking platforms share or upload student pictures online without consent.
- Staff should exercise their professional judgement about whether an image is appropriate to share on school social media accounts / images about the school / students / staff on their own social media / networking platforms. Students should be appropriately dressed, not be subject to ridicule and must not be on any school list of children whose images must not be published.
- If a member of staff inadvertently takes a compromising picture which could be misconstrued or misused, they must delete it immediately.
IMPLEMENTATION OF POLICY
Compiled by Frankie Cilliers (Head of Innovation) at Saxonwold Primary School on 7 March 2021. Approved by the Acting Principal, Ms Jadi Mgandela and SGB Chairperson, Mrs Moloko Sibandze.
13 Aldswold Road, Saxonwold, Johannesburg, Gauteng, South Africa
(+27) 11 646 5510