Facebook: Are you old enough ?

I am currently leading a team at my school that is working on implementing the eSMart accrediation program that has been developed by the Allanah and Madeline Foundation and supported by the Victorian Department of Education and Early Childhood Development. 

Underataking this process has made me consider, question and reflect on how we use ICT in our daily lives and the many issues surrounding its use; particularly within an educational setting.

Over the coming weeks, I aim to share some of these issues and thoughts with you and that you will share your thoughts, practices and experiences.

As I’ve gone about researching information for the development of our school polcies for eSmart, I was clicking my way through the eSmart Portal and the DEECD Learning OnLine site, I came across some details regarding Facebook. I was interetsed and wanted to know more as this has caused some issues in the past. As I work in a primary school, details regarding children under the age of 13 who have Facebook accounts took my interest.

Facebook requires individuals to be at least 13 years old before they can create an account. In some jurisdictions, the age limit may be higher. Providing false information to create an account is always a violation of our Statement of Rights and Responsibilities.This includes accounts registered on the behalf of under 13 year old children by older parties.

If your underage child (child under the age of 13) has created an account on Facebook, you can show them how to delete their account by having them log into their account and following this link.

If you would like to report an account registered for an underage child to us, please do so here. We will promptly delete the account of any child under the age of 13 that is reported to us through this form.

Does this then mean that we as teachers as part of our Duty of Care are required to report such violations ?

A school also has a Duty of Care responsibility to identify known and foreseeable risks to students and to take reasonable steps to minimise these risks and to support students in their care. This includes online and digital environments, particularly those that are created and/or owned by the school and its teaching staff.

In the past, I have made sure that I am very clear when speaking to students about Facebook that the school does not promote it use and encourages the use of other online tools such as the Ultranet, Global2 blogs or SuperClubsPlus to connect and communicate with students and other staff.

However, on the flip side of this, I am well aware that our students use these tools and\or will make use of them once they leave primary school. In the past I have even discussed with senior students ways they can better secure their Facebook accounts with the aim of arming them information to protect their privacy and strategies for dealing with unwanted online beheaviours.

 

What are your thoughts ?

Does your school have a policy\procedure regarding this ?

Have you had an experience reporting a under-age Facebook user ?

Image by birgerking. Used under a Creative Commons licence.

 

One thought on “Facebook: Are you old enough ?

  1. Mrs Kathleen Morris

    Hi Scott,

    This is a really timely post as I attended a cyber safety PD last night. It was run by cyber safety expert and former police officer, Susan McLean.

    She made it very clear that students under 13 should not be on Facebook and if we know that they are then we should be reporting them (by following the links you mentioned).

    Like you, I have never promoted my students being on Facebook. I have never befriended them but I have also never told them to get off or thought about reporting them. All I’ve every really done is reminded them that there is a 13+ age limit and they really shouldn’t be on.

    Like you, I’ve tried to steer my students towards more supervised environments to connect and communicate online.

    I really don’t know what to do now. Like you suggested, we may in fact be breaching our duty of care if we don’t report students but with the way Facebook use is growing I think we’d forever be chasing our tail trying to do this!

    I’d love to hear others’ thoughts on this.

    On another note, I have noticed many of my grade 4 students are getting into Instagram – another 13+ tool.

    Thanks for a great post,

    Kath Morris

    Reply

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