How social media is used can have a significant influence on the reputation of an early childhood service and the safety of participants.
Social media technologies if used appropriately can become an excellent way to broaden and increase opportunities for communication as well as being a powerful marketing tool.
Social media is what we call Internet based tools that allow for the publishing of information, views, pictures etc and include social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Google Plus.
When ChildForum approached several ECE services about their policies surrounding social media and staff use of social networking sites we discovered they either had no policy or had a policy that was limited to Internet use (the downloading and viewing of material primarily) and gave little or no attention to social media use.
Not surprisingly then, many had experienced problems such as:
- a supervisor accepting a request from a parent as an online ‘friend’ and subsequent difficulties in the blurring between professional and personal relationships staff member posting pictures of a social event in the centre folder on Facebook. Other staff asked for the photos to be removed and a decision subsequently made to remove the folder entirely
- an ex-employee telling social networking friends that leaving was the best decision she had ever made and why
- details about fee increases being ‘leaked’ online by a committee member before a final decision had been made and parents officially informed
- an educator commenting on a child in her care on Facebook with her friends (assume nothing is private)
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