Wed. Jan 26th, 2022

Lately these are the phrases you hear everywhere: “Look for me on Facebook” or “Check out my MySpace page.” Facebook and MySpace are the two biggest social networks on the web today, each boasting millions of members and each growing more and more by each and every day. College campuses are no different; most students are members of at least Facebook or MySpace, allowing them to have their own personal web pages to post pictures, hobbies, music and all sorts of personal information. Students “logged on” to these Web sites are communicating with people around the globe, and staying in touch with friends and family members.

“I’m on Facebook to keep in touch with my friends,” communication studies major Sarah Levin said. “A lot of them go to schools pretty far away, so it’s easy to keep in touch over Facebook.”

Postings can be in any form, some being tame and others completely inappropriate. According to the Associated Press, Ohio teachers have posted inappropriate things such as ‘she is an animal in bed’, or another has ‘taken drugs and likes to party’.

This becomes a problem, since Facebook and MySpace are now catering towards a slightly younger age demographic. Now, high school students and sometimes even middle school students are logged on to Facebook and MySpace, making it easy for them to access information to their teacher’s profiles and web pages, which becomes a problem when students view inappropriate things from their teacher’s personal information.

This trend is not popular with everyone, though. Departments of education are starting to take precautions to teachers posting inappropriate things available to their young students.

According to the Associated Press, The Ohio Education Association, the largest teaching union in Ohio, has started to discourage teachers from becoming members of Facebook and MySpace or limit what they are posting on their own personal web sites. It is recognized that teachers have their own right to have a site. However, they are being cautioned on what they are posting because it could mean facing punishments or even worse, losing their teaching license.

What does that mean for Pennsylvania teachers? Although there are no specific laws about this, there are conditions and a Code of Conduct for state certified teachers.

According to the Pennsylvania Department of Education website, there is a Code of Conduct that is enforced with teachers certified within the Department of Education. Section Five of the Pennsylvania Code of Conduct specifically touches on the individual professional conduct of teachers, and that they uphold the practices, values and integrity of the profession.

Inappropriateness on Facebook and MySpace web pages could reflect a violation in that code. Pennsylvania Department of Education Web site reads the Department of Education for the state does enforce the standards of the Professional code. Some students ready to graduate have already taken action.

“It will show a side of your personal life that some people may find unprofessional,” Ryan Berger said, an elementary education major currently student teaching, who has removed his profile from the Facebook social network.

Katie Lunger, another student who is not a member of a social network, agrees, “It doesn’t set a good example for kids, and it takes away from your professionalism.”

Not only is this an issue for current and future teachers, but it can also be an issue for other college students helping to graduate, and looking for a job in the “real world.” Some students have taken steps in making their profiles private, or to a limited profile. With these steps, one can control who is looking at his/her personal web page and profile and also go as far as to control what each person is seeing when they view web pages.

Just remember when posting items on web pages and profiles in social networks like Facebook or MySpace, think about who is going to be viewing your personal information and what you want each person to see.

Lauren Whitaker is a fourth-year student majoring in communication studies with a minor in journalism. She can be reached at LW588061@wcupa.edu.

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