Facebook Friendships: Appropriate With Teachers?

More than ever, society has grown dependent on social networks. We find that even among days of unbearable boredom, a simple notification can spark excitement. Social networks like Twitter and particularly Facebook have become the new addiction among socialites.

So evidently, if you need to get the word out about something, a status update is your best bet; however, these prevalent networks aren’t designed to connect with authoritative figures. Facebook’s innovative website features allow anyone to express their most inner thoughts, but in the process social networks can blur the line of what is appropriate in a teacher-student relationship. Society uses Facebook as an outlet to dump personal information: thus, it contradicts the purpose of what teachers and students are supposed to achieve; academic success. It isn’t to say that teachers and students cannot be friends, but allowing them to access personal information about each other forms gray areas. Once one makes a Facebook account, one can become accustomed to the casualties, of Facebook particularly when posting information.

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As an educator, it is extremely important to have the respect of students and it’s difficult to maintain a wholesome image over Facebook. Teachers pursuing a virtual friendship must acknowledge that they are educators first, not friends. Just as when students are writing an English essay, they have a target audience and Facebook’s unfiltered content suggests students are writing and posting for friends. Misleading information online can lead to inaccurate assumptions, causing a teacher to look differently at students simply because of a new profile picture. With an age barrier, the virtual friendship would only open a floodgate of misunderstandings and lead to awkward interactions Monday morning.

Restricting a precarious Facebook friendship to form won’t hinder teachers’ ability to contact students because contact should only be pertaining school, which social networks aren’t designed for. Students will eventually lose focus, wondering why their teacher’s long distance relationship ended- rather than the lesson plan. These friendships online could also lead to a lot of hassle when monitoring misconduct that pertains to the communication between the student and teacher. Social networks are extremely helpful for both students and teachers on a personal level, but it isn’t acceptable for them to socially interact. Students use outlets like Facebook to prolong their procrastination on school work, and don’t want their teachers realizing they are roaming through Facebook pictures the night before an exam. Teachers required to give work emails, not personal emails, as contact information, already leads me to believe the relationship should be designed around an academic focus.

Using social networks defeats the purpose because they bring more risks than the already efficient sources of communication.