Consider everything you publish online to be public. Even if your account is set to be private, anything published online is easy for others to copy, reuse and download so it can quickly become public.
Action: Talk to friends and family about what they post about you now that you are at the start of a career in education. Ask them to be considerate and sensible. You should be able to untag yourself in any photographs, posts or comments you feel are inappropriate. See Improving Your Online Profile for advice about how to report and remove inappropriate material posted by others.
- The UK Safer Internet Centre provide sound advice on how to maintain a positive online reputation.
- The National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers (NASUWT) provides advice on how to use Facebook safely as a teacher (with website updates, the location of settings may vary, but the advice and principles are sound). The case studies on page 21 are worth reading and considering.
- The National Union of Teachers provides guidance on e-safety, including a model policy and sensible ‘Dos and Don’ts’ on the final page.
- E-Safety Support offer a wealth of advice on teachers’ use of social media and potential pitfalls. You will need to set up an account, but it’s free and there are lots of useful materials and updates.
- Remove any images or posts that present you in a less than professional light.
- Check any personal details associated with your accounts are up to date and accurate and remove any data you’d rather not share.
- Close any old, unused accounts.
- Check all privacy settings and change them if necessary so that you know what is private or public. HOWEVER don’t rely on privacy settings as they tend to change frequently, so you mustn’t become complacent. Change your attitude and consider everything you publish online to be public. Even if your account is set be private, anything published online is easy for others to copy, reuse and download so it can quickly become public. This applies to messages and emails as well as photos and posts.
- Carry out an internet search for your name every month. Remember to check images and videos as well as the web results. Don’t forget to check out search engines other than Google, such as Bing, DuckDuckGo and Dogpile.
- Check social media sites for fake accounts in your name and mention of your name in others’ posts and comments. It is important to do this even if you don’t have any social media accounts yourself. See previous page for advice about how to report and remove fake accounts.