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Young Teachers Posting Inappropriate Things on Facebook Pages

When Is It Not OK to Have a Facebook Page?

In Washington DC, some young teachers are taking that whole MySpace thing a little too literally and customizing their Facebook pages with scandalous weekend activities and other inappropriate postings.

A kindergarten teacher posted a sexual ad she would probably protect her class from, one young special ed teacher put up a bumper sticker that said, "You're a retard, but I love you," and many more post themselves partying. Sure, these kids are fresh out of college in their 20s, but do parents of their students care what's normal for 22-year-olds to do?

Many of these teachers said their profiles were private, but they were accessed easily through DC groups — that, combined with changing privacy policies, is enough to keep me from posting much more than a headshot. But what about for people who hold public office, or slightly public jobs like teachers?

Once you get above a certain age, maybe you shouldn't have a MySpace or Facebook page at all, and you should probably really not have one if you have a job where anyone anywhere might Google you. Yes, I see how restrictive that is, but let this article be a lesson to you. For as embarrassing and unprofessional it can be, when should you not have a Facebook page?

Join The Conversation
Monique-Marie427757 Monique-Marie427757 7 years
If you are afraid, ashamed or even think about how something might affect you negatively when you post something online, then maybe you should re-think about posting it.
iHeartU83 iHeartU83 9 years
I believe that it is really up to the person. Becoming a young professional doesn’t take away from the fact that you are still young. However as with anything you do, use discretion and be aware that it is the internet. Your co-workers, students, employers, teachers, whatevers; can find you and see what it is that you are doing. Don’t risk your job. Or just make it super private and don't post personal things like your name and picture to make you easily identifiable. My previous job did a background check and looked up each persons facebook page while I was working and made the inappropriate ones be changed and or removed. I guess you must decide if it’s really worth it! Kinda long I know, sorry!
psydeshoduhc psydeshoduhc 9 years
i had to clean up my myspace profile a couple of years ago when the realization about privacy came to be. my profile is considered "boring" but appropriate. however, i feel its a true generalization of myself. when i registered for myspace, i had to manipulate the entry info so i won't be tracked. however, 90 percent of my friends are people who i actually know. also, when you comment people on myspace. you have to wise and cautious. however, great article. and i'm an elementary school teacher.
LilGlamDiva LilGlamDiva 9 years
I don't think there's an appropriate limitation. I mean, I liked it best when facebook was just for college kids, but alas that was too exclusive. now everyone and their mom is on facebook, literally. I think it all comes down to judgment. If a person of authority or public figure is going to have a profile, they need to make sure it represents them appropriately and tastefully or they need to seriously mess with the privacy settings....and deal with the consequences if they don't
fauxmccoy fauxmccoy 9 years
while i think having a social networking profile is always ok -- for those in public office or responsible for care of children, the clergy, any of a number of positions where one is held to a high moral ground -- well, those folks would be just plain silly to post indiscriminately. doing so displays poor judgment which to me is far more important than their indiscretions (which i really don't care about).
sldc sldc 9 years
Do not write anything you do not want people to read. Simple. A good lesson in life is people will be judged on their appearance and words nearly always. If you look and act a certain way, do not be shocked when people treat you accordingly. Who wants to hire a someone who may look like she is unstable and unreliable?
Cris1192 Cris1192 9 years
Look theoretically you can post anything on your myspace or facebook page, but I guess if you're a teacher or soemthing like that you should be discret about what you post. BUt everybody should be able to have a facebook or myspace or hi5 or blogger etc page if they want.
chhavi chhavi 9 years
I think having a FB/myspace is totally all right. Then again, controlling the content you put up on your web page becomes important. I beleive everybody likes their privacy, no? Like if you are a teacher, as someone pointed out, don't add your pupils. And yet at the same time, be cool.
tintalle tintalle 9 years
Of course you should always be able to have a facebook or myspace. But its in the nature of these sites to expose yourself. And by all means do so if you like, its up to every individual to decide what is considered appropriate, responsible, or too much. That being the case i do feel that at a certain age or maturity level that you should move on from facebook and myspace. I'm all for social networking sites, but i have to admit that it feels a little too high school to belong to either once you're in your late twenties and beyond.
misshouston misshouston 9 years
It's called "discretion," people. If you wouldn't want it broadcast on the evening news or read at your eulogy, keep a lid on it.
a-lifetime-ago a-lifetime-ago 9 years
Word to the wise in our age and times: When you put something on the internet think of it like a tattoo. Permanent and on display for everyone to see; you can try to hide it, you can try to erase it, but traces and shadows are still there. So just think before you hit post. Think hard.
phatE phatE 9 years
bengalspice- actually, facebook was started for college students at harvard to keep up with each other while in school, not after they graduated (seeing that the founder didn't even graduate). I think people are stupid, and if you have a job there is a certain level of responsibility/accountability involved with having anything on the internet.. However, I am in my 20's and had facebook throughout college, just b/c I am now in the real world, doesn't mean I am going to just get rid of it, that's just stupid. Our culture is driven by these kinds of things. I think teachers like the examples given are just morons and it's really not about their facebook or myspace.. They shouldn't set the tone for everyone else.. They also shouldn't add their kids to their profiles.. I think facebook really isn't in the same group as myspace. Myspace is shady, and it's like for everyone who is in their late 20's early 30's who never jumped on the facebook bandwaggon and like to give people glitter graphics that say happy monday.. ugh. either way, when you're 40 and wanting to be your kids friend, and their friends friend, then yeah, move on.. but if you had it in college and use it to keep up w/ people just be smart about what you put on it, and use the privacy restrictions. and "mandyjobo" good luck finding a babysitter who is not wrapped up in the internet culture.. ha.
MandyJoBo MandyJoBo 9 years
I wouldn't hire a nanny or babysitter that had a myspace page, but I would consider hiring one that had a facebook page. I think it speaks of the type of person he or she is. I don't want someone wrapped up in internet culture in any way, though.
jill37 jill37 9 years
As soon as I was applying for jobs, I cleaned up my Facebook page (even though there was hardly anything on it and nothing scandalous) and I told my friends what I was doing so they wouldn't post anything questionable my page. Facebook is a great way for me to keep in touch with friends and family members I know I otherwise wouldn't be able to, so I wouldn't tell anybody they shouldn't use it. But using privacy setting and common sense is completely necessary.
Geisha-Runner Geisha-Runner 9 years
I don't think someone's job should stop them from MySpace or Facebook. They are after all, networking websites. I think people need to take a different approach to it. Between stalkers and the person you just had an interview with going on MySpace to search for you ... ya gotta watch your back! I have two seperate pages. One is very professional and can be searched by my name and my "professional" e-mail. The other is my personal page. The e-mail address is my personal one (that only friends and family know) and the name isn't real. That way I can rock the page however I want and bossman isn't the wiser!
DigitalAngel DigitalAngel 9 years
There should be no restrictions on these pages. However, be prepared to accept the consequences. I deleted mine when I started my job search. Now all I have is LinkedIn.
ilovebedes ilovebedes 9 years
i think whoever wants to have a myspace or facebook should be able to, no matter what their profession. it's their choice to post whatever they want and if there should be consequences, they will have to pay for them.
popcorn19 popcorn19 9 years
I'm a middle school teacher with a private Myspace and private Facebook page.... My students have been determined since September to find me on both!! It really just has to do with censoring though---while my pages are private, I really don't have anything to hide.
nettefairy nettefairy 9 years
I think parents should monitor what their kids are doing on facebook and everyone, no matter who they are, should be cautious about what they publish on the internet of all places.
natali3nguyen natali3nguyen 9 years
i don't think there should be an age limit for facebook, but i think if you're gonna post something you should think about who's gonna see it first
thorswitch thorswitch 9 years
I agree that anyone should be able to have a Facebook/MySpace/TeamSugar (or whatever) page on a social networking site if they want, and that those who do opt to have them need to be careful about what they put out there. I do think, however, that parents do have a right to check out their kids' teachers, and, really, probably should. How often do we hear about teachers who molest or have sex with students? Just this week there was a female teacher who was arrested for the third time in two weeks for having sex with an under-aged student. Just as with Debra LaFave and Mary Kay Letourneu (sp?), this was happening outside of school, and the parents apparently didn't know a thing about it. And it's not just female teachers abusing male students, but also male teachers with female students, female teachers with female students, male teachers with male students, and probably just about any other grouping a person can think of. Now, granted, a teacher who is also a sexual predator isn't likely to have a "guess what, I like to have sex with kids" graphic on their Facebook, but I'll bet they have some stuff up there that would be rather inappropriate. Another issue with teachers (and other professionals who work with vulnerable populations) posting inappropriate material to a website is that teachers are supposed to set a good example for the kids they're teaching, and pictures of wild carousing or broadcasting your sexual predilections isn't going to help accomplish that. The problem I have with the idea that a person should be able to put up whatever they want on their Facebook, etc. is that in choosing what to post (and in what it shows you doing) is that it's an indication of what kind of judgment you have, and whether or not you have good judgment is ENTIRELY relevant to a job - *any* kind of job. And it's not just pictures of getting stone-faced drunk or announcing your sexual predilections that could be troublesome, but anything that might indicate if you're irresponsible or have ethics some might find questionable (such as griping about the high bounce fees at your bank or how you got a dress for a party, hid the tags on it and then took it back the next day for a full refund) could indicate that you may not have the level of professionalism or integrity they're wanting to have in their company. It may not seem fair, but sometimes life just isn't. One last thing (well, for this post, anyway), BalooB said: In addition to this, I really think that any parent who is looking for their child's teacher on facebook is really really really pathetic- they are the kind of parents who are harming their children by being in their child's face too much. IMO, I think the opposite is true far more often. Parents today don't really pay enough attention to their kids, if anything. Kids under 14 aren't supposed to be able to sign up for MySpace, but there are thousands of them on there, and how many of their parents know about it or understand the potential dangers there (like getting chatted up by pedophiles?) It's the same with most other social networking sites. We've also seen that, in most of the school shooting cases, the parents had no idea that their kids were even troubled, much less building an arsenal in the family garage, not to mention that there are so many parents who expect others - the government, the schools, the community - to "protect" their children from whatever might be out there, rather than taking the time and making the effort to protect their kids themselves or teach their kids how to protect themselves. We have parents who want the schools to teach sex ed (but only according to their values, whether that means teaching abstinence or teaching birth control,) some even want religion taught in schools - or at least to make sure nothing that counters their religion is taught (and that's not limited just to conservative Christians, though we hear about them the most.) Many want the government to ban games, movies, music or even foods that might not be "good" for kids rather than establishing what is or isn't acceptable for their child and then paying attention to make sure those limits are respected. I honestly think that if parents spent MORE time with their children and paying attention to what their kids do, who they hang out with, what they watch and listen to for entertainment and so forth, it would truly resolve a lot of the problems we see with kids today. A parents job is to care for, guide and TEACH their children - and it's hard to do that if you're just not paying attention.
clocked clocked 9 years
they're good for networking and keeping in touch, but like you said, if you have a job where anyone is going to look you up, you should restrict the content for your own good. I remember when I started college I had some racy photos up..about a year later they were gone when I had a boyfriend. different circumstances, but I definitely think after a certain age, certain content on FB or myspace is just pathetic.
LOVErickii LOVErickii 9 years
it should be "under a certain age" technology is very firmly apart of our lives but kids (lets say that arent in highchool yet? which is like 12 and under)shouldnt be exposed to it yet. let them have a fulfilling childhood.
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