Social Media Policy

1. INTRODUCTION

Sacred Heart College of Lucena City, Inc., through its Data Protection Office (DPO), continues its commitment to safeguard the data privacy rights and interests of its stakeholders, particularly its student learners. To help achieve this goal in this technology driven learning environment, the DPO deems it necessary to ensure cyber security and prevent malicious online activities, such as online bullying. This “Social Media Policy” has been developed to address such concerns.

2. RATIONALE

Many of the proudest moments of any parent/guardian/student take place within the school walls or within the digital confines of e-learning. It is only natural to want to share images and videos of such momentous events on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and/or any other social media platform. It is also natural for some to use social media to express frustration, disappointment and/or complaint regarding many aspects, including those that may be related to academic encounters.

However, the Internet is not as safe or private as one may think, and “over-sharing” could potentially put your child/ward/yourself and others at risk. This “Social Media Policy” aims to provide strong recommendations as to how personnel, parents/guardians and students should use social networking sites.

3. PURPOSE

Social media policies serve several purposes. However, its underlying purpose is to protect personnel, students and parents/guardians from the many issues that may arise as a result of posting on social media sites.

Personnel may be open to malicious and defamatory comments (and potentially even threats and abuse) from parents/guardians or students, and to allegations of grooming and other forms of online abuse.

Parents may become involved in online disputes with other parents/guardians, students, teaching faculty or school personnel through social media. They may also potentially put their child/ward and others within the school at risk by sharing images, videos or other information that could make their children/wards identifiable to others.

Students are at risk of cyber bullying or identity theft, or may also become involved in cyber bullying themselves. They are also vulnerable to other serious crimes such as grooming and abduction if they share too much personal information on social media.

4. NEED FOR SOCIAL MEDIA POLICY

The National Privacy Commission (NPC) of the Philippines on August 20, 2021 via their official Facebook Page reminds schools both in the public and private sectors to develop a strict social media policy for teachers and personnel for the purpose of allowing the effective online teaching and learning that does not breach the data privacy rights of its students as data subjects. This is in order to address the growing popularity of social media and the corresponding increase in potential issues surrounding its use.

5. COVERAGE

This Social Media Policy mainly aims to keep everyone within the school, physically and virtually, safe and within the law. This Policy includes recommendations aimed at personnel, particularly teaching faculty, parents/guardians and students.

6. POLICY

This policy provides guidance for personnel, teaching faculty, parents/guardians and students on the use of social media, which should be broadly understood for purposes of this policy to include blogs, microblogs, message boards, chat rooms, electronic newsletters, online forums, social networking sites, and other sites and services that permit online users to share information with others in a contemporaneous manner.

7. PROCEDURES

The following principles apply to professional use of social media on behalf of Sacred Heart College of Lucena City, Inc. as well as personal use of social media when referring to SHC.

7.1 Teaching Faculty

Teaching faculty should:

7.1.1 not accept friend requests from current or former students under 13 years old;

7.1.2 notify the parents/guardians if a child sends a friend request;

7.1.3 use extreme caution when corresponding with parents/guardians/students via social media, and preferably use the school domain e-mail address instead;

7.1.4 only post things that they would be happy to be attributed to them as a teaching professional;

7.1.5 use the strictest privacy settings possible;

7.1.6 know and adhere to the school’s Code of Conduct, Faculty Manual, and other school policies when using social media in reference to SHC;

7.1.7 be aware of the effect their actions may have on their image and reputation, as well as the school’s image, since the information that they post or publish online may be public information for a long time;

7.1.8 be aware that SHC, through its school authorities, may observe content and information made available by personnel through social media. Personnel are highly advised to exercise caution and use their best judgment in posting online content that is neither inappropriate nor harmful to the school, its personnel, or students;

7.1.9 refrain from social media conduct such as posting commentary, content, or images that are defamatory, pornographic, proprietary, harassing, libelous, or that can create a hostile work environment;

7.1.10 not publish, post or release any information that is considered confidential or not public. If there are questions about what is considered confidential, personnel may check with the school Data Protection Officer (DPO);

7.1.11 disengage, in a polite manner, from an online encounter/situation/dialogue that threatens to become antagonistic and seek the advice of an immediate supervisor/unit head;

7.1.12 get appropriate permission before referring to or posting images of current or former personnel, members, or partners. Personnel should also get appropriate permission to use a third party’s copyrights, copyrighted material, trademarks, service marks or other intellectual property; and

7.1.13 keep school-related social media accounts separate from personal accounts, if practical.

7.2 Parents/Guardians

Parents/guardians should:

7.2.1 not post images, videos or comments that include other children/students at the school without their informed consent;

7.2.2 raise inquiries, concerns and complaints directly with the school and its administration rather than posting them on social media – whether on their own pages, in closed groups (ex. groups set up for school parents to communicate with each other) or on the school’s pages;

7.2.3 not post anything malicious about the school or any member of the school community; and

7.2.4 not post/share any personal information, sensitive information and/or privileged information about their child/ward that they would not wish to share to the public.

7.3 Students

Students should:

7.3.1 not join any social networking sites if they are below the permitted age (13 years old for most sites including Facebook and Instagram);

7.3.2 inform their parents if they are using the sites, and when they are online;

7.3.3 be aware how to report abuse and inappropriate content;

7.3.4 not make inappropriate comments (including in private messages) about the school, teachers or other children; and

7.3.5 not post/share any personal information, sensitive information and/or privileged information about themselves that they would not wish to share to the public, or such information about other students or school personnel that they do not have consent to share.

8. POLICY ENFORCEMENT

Sacred Heart College of Lucena City, Inc. reserves the right to take necessary action should a member of staff, parent/guardian or student breach any of its policies. A student found to have broken the rules/policies stated herein may be disciplined or given appropriate action according to the school’s standard disciplinary policies.

SHC will also take social media infringements by teaching faculty and personnel seriously. If a member of staff is found to have broken any of the above policies, s/he is likely to face internal disciplinary action based on the policies and procedures cited on the existing school Manuals (Non-Teaching and Maintenance Personnel/Faculty).

For parents/guardians who may have infringed on any of the above social media policy, such as posting images or videos that include other students or personnel without their informed consent, are likely to be contacted by school authorities and asked to remove such content.

If a parent/guardian has a reasonable complaint, the school highly recommends that this be addressed through the usual “complaints procedure”, and the school can request that the offensive comments be removed. Comments that are threatening, abusive, discriminatory, sexist or that could be seen as a hate crime can be reported to the police as online harassment.

REFERENCES

  1. Sample Social Media Policy. Retrieved on Aug 21, 2021 from https://www.acfe.com/uploadedfiles/acfe_website/content/documents/sample-documents/sample-social-media-policy.pdf
  2. “School Social Media Policies Explained”, The School Run. Accessed on Aug 23, 2021 at https://www.theschoolrun.com/school-social-media-policies