Tuesday, December 11, 2018

No Facebook in the playground


No Facebook inthe Schoolyard“Social media should be used as a way of gauging how your brand is perceived, not as a way of enforcing a brand.”

Parents sent to see the head, because of their behaviour?

There's nothing worse than being sent to see the head. It's bad as a child, and worse as a parent because of your child's behaviour. How about for YOUR behaviour in a Facebook conversation? Too far?

That's what's been happening recently. Innocuous Facebook conversations about a local school (I'm not naming names, I was always a good boy and never got sent to the head at school and don't want to start a "bad boy" career now) have led to parents being called in to see the school head. Apparently the school doesn't like parents discussing it in conversations on the social media site.

Now, if you're employed by the school it's understandable. You should never post on a public (and let's not forget, pretty much everything you post on the Internet should be considered potentially public) anything that could show your employer in poor light, or make public details of working environments that may be detrimental to company policy. However, as a parent of a child, you are actually free to talk about the school your child goes to. As long as you are not defamatory about it, or inciting hatred or violence towards it, then it's all covered under the wonders of freedom of speech.

For a school to actively monitor the Facebook feeds of parents of pupils is very ropey territory. To do so to try and get an idea of the feeling of attitudes towards yuor school and to search out problem areas and to help improve your practices is acceptable, and many businesses use social media for exactly this - a measure of their performance. To use "social network spying" though as a means of silencing detractors is deplorable, though not as deplorable as the method; an actual summons to see the head to have your wrist slapped.

There's simply no excuse from the school for this behaviour and attitude towards the parents of its pupils. Parents will often have anxieties towards school policy they may feel they need to discuss with peers and playground pals. They should be allowed to voice concerns and to even have a general chit-chat or joke about things that happen within school grounds. You should never fear that there is a spy, a "friend of a friend" somewhere on the Internet reporting your every move and comment. To be taken to task is like being hunted down and bullied and the school should be ashamed of the attitude taken.

Social media should be used as a way of gauging how your brand is perceived, not as a way of enforcing a brand.

There's a little reading here about the kinds of things you can and can't get away with saying.

What do people think? If school was to pull you in because you'd criticised a classroom technique or were upset you felt your child was being deprived of the same privileges the rest of the class has, what would you say? Get stuffed is my initial diplomatic reaction ;)



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