Social Media Guidelines for New York Schools & Belgian Press

Fri 4 May 2012 10:00, Vitto Christaldi

Social Media Guidelines for New York Schools & Belgian Press

New York City and Belgium feel the need to create clear guidelines for social media usage. Earlier this week, The New York City Department of Education issued the first guidelines for the use of social media in public schools. Three thousand miles+ away, The Belgian Press Council also recently issued the guidelines for the use of information and images from social media as news materials.

New York

As reported by The New York Times, the Education Department of New York City released the guidelines for local public schools stating that teachers should maintain separate professional and personal web pages. Furthermore its very clear on restricting teachers to make contact with students through social media, except through supervised social media pages specifically for classroom purposes. Teachers are not banned from social media, but they are recommended to control the privacy settings of their personal social media profiles.

The Education Department of New York City feels the urge to establish these guidelines due to some reports about inappropriate interactions between students and teachers on social media which lead to sexual or abusive offenses. Apparently, as I quoted from The New York Times, “In recent years, dozens of teachers have been investigated and some have been fired for inappropriate interactions and relationships with students that began or were conducted on social media Web sites, according to Richard J. Condon, the department’s special commissioner of investigation. In 2009, for instance, there were 14 such accusations involving Facebook; in the first 11 months of 2011, there were 69.” 


Belgian Press Council has also established guidelines for information and images taken from social networking sites for news purposes, mainly after the alleged privacy violation of the Belgian newspapers “Het Belang van Limburg” and “Het Laatste Nieuws”. “The fact that someones personal data, information, or images are placed on the internet or on a social networking site, even if it is publicly accessible, does not automatically mean that the material may be reproduced in other media” according to Flip Voets of the Belgian Press Council, on

Maybe it is about time that your local government creates clear social guidelines for schools and the press. Or do you think they are silly and unnecessary?

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