Is it Ok for Educators to Connect with Students on Facebook?


Some of you may have seen that we posted a new fact sheet earlier in the week with information for educators and students to keep in mind when connecting via social media. This has been a topic of intense debate on this blog for years and we would love to hear your opinions.  So, before we go any further, we have a quick poll for you to tell us how you feel about whether it is appropriate for educators to connect with students:

Now, take some time to look over our fact sheet and let us know what you think. Post your comments below about whether you think it is a good idea for educators to be connected with their students on social media or not. What are your concerns? How could it be valuable? Are you using social media in your schools to connect students with staff?


  1. I can’t answer the question because I firmly believe that it depends on quite a few different factors. My answer would be “it depends.”

    • We flesh out some of those factors in our fact sheet – if you get a chance to read it, let us know what you agree with, and what you disagree with! Thanks, Rosalind!

  2. Before reading the fact sheet, I believed that it would be okay for an educator to connect with students through a PROFESSIONAL FaceBook profile, not a personal one. However, as I read the article, I noticed that a lot of responsibility comes in hand with friending students. I know to be professional at work and with my surroundings- to report inappropriate behavior when I see it. I would not like to be watching my back as an educator when I am off school grounds by making sure I report student’s activity on FaceBook if I see it is inappropriate. It is opening yourself up to unwanted situations. After understanding more about the facts between educators and students “friending” on social networks, I know that as a future educator I will not take that step- even if I make a professional profile.

  3. I do not think that it is appropriate for students and teachers to be friends on facebook, at least not
    while the student is attending the school you work at. I think teachers need to
    keep a professional manner and if students have access to your personal
    facebook page, that is not have a professional manner, and it is setting
    yourself up for something bad to happen. There is no reason for a teacher to be
    friends with their student on facebook. The teacher should have told the
    students everything they needed to tell the students in class.

    • I agree. Being friends with students while they are attending they school you work at, even if they are no longer in your class, is a bad idea. A better way to get information to students would be a class wiki, as these are strictly for your class and are normally free.

  4. I do not think it is appropriate for an educator to be facebook friends with a student while the attend the school. Even if the teacher is using a professional page, rather than a personal one, the students will be using a personal page and an educator should not be that connected to a students personal life.

  5. I do not think that students and teachers should be able to connect on Facebook until the student has graduated. There is no need for that communication to occur when they can see the teacher everyday in class and it opens the teacher to so many potential problems. There is also the issue of whether or not the teacher sees something inappropriate (like underage drinking) and what to do in that situation.

  6. Educators should not connect with their students on Facebook period. This online friendship can be exploited into so many different things that can hurt a teacher that it is simply not worth it. Even the use of a professional page I think is a bad idea. As a future educator we have been encouraged by some of our professors to simle delete our facebook all together so that there is no chance of any kind of interaction outside of school with students on Facebook.

  7. I do not believe that educators should connect with their students through social media at all. Period. As an educator you need to be professional and if you need to get a hold of a student, that is why there is a school email as well as online webcourse email to do so. Educators who connect with students through social media are just taking the risk of it becoming something else and things said can be misconstrued. I think its smarter to just play it safe for the sake of your job.

  8. I dont think this would be in the best interest of the teacher, if the teacher needs to have a conversation with a student they can do it when they are in the classroom.

  9. I don’t think that it is appropriate at all for a teacher to use Facebook to connect with students. I think it’s a horrible idea to be connected to a student’s personal profile. This could potentially cause trouble, like the article said, if a student is posting something that the teacher then has to report on, or if a student gets a little to comfortable and starts trying to reach out to the teacher on the site for non educational related talk. Part of being a professional is separating your personal life from your work life, and by having a Facebook page that your students have access to, you are completely going against that.

  10. I agree Lindsay, I also do not agree it is alright. But I do know some teachers that use facebook and create a new account just for the students to keep in contact constantly and post thing about classwork and homework. I love this idea and think students would enjoy this as well because it keeps an interest of there and ties it into a way for the students to keep communication together and with the teacher.

  11. I feel as if the world of social media and the classroom are two separate entities and should remain that way. Once a student is connected with his or her teacher outside of school in such a private way like Facebook many doors are opened that could lead to inappropriate interaction. Teachers who connect with students have to be very careful of anything post on a social network in fear of losing professional credibility I think this is a horrible idea and teachers should not connect with students unless the students are graduated and no longer in their classroom.

  12. I feel that teachers shouldn’t friend students on Facebook because while the
    teacher might have a perfectly professional Facebook, the students might post inappropriate
    material that the teacher may be held liable for. I think a better alternative
    would be to use the groups feature of Facebook so that the students and teacher
    can communicate on the popular website about school related material without
    peering into each other’s personal lives.

  13. No. I do not think that this is ok. Primarily because of all the doors that such behavior could open up, as well as what could go wrong and/or be interpreted. A teacher who “friends” a student on Facebook may have purely innocent intentions, but in my opinion its just a bad judgment call. Reflecting on my high school years there was one teacher in particular that all of the students liked and respected. He was pretty young, an awesome educator, and could relate to this students. He was helpful, approachable, fair, and just all around a great guy who was revered by the students and other faculty members. Well, as you could imagine, many of his students located him on Facebook and sent him a friend request but he denied all of them. He explained to them his role as their educator, not their friend. But he promised that once they were adults (at least 18 years old) and graduated from high school, only then would he accept their friend requests.

  14. My school will be instituting a new AUP next year that essentially shuts down any student-teacher contact on social media that is done in the name of the school district. For instance, our student council may not maintain its Facebook page, which it uses to share updates and information with members. While I understand the desire to stop contact between teachers and students, we must instead find a way to make it safe. This is not the first time that new technology has challenged our perception of education. Ignoring Facebook and Twitter removes what could be a very powerful classroom tool from our disposal. I agree that personal interaction between teachers and students via social media is unnecessary, but I feel that most schools would benefit from some kind of system that encourages teachers to be in touch with both students and parents through any means possible, including social networking websites.

    • Yes, your school is moving in the wrong direction if you ask us. Your Board may want to move to discourage student-teacher interaction in the classroom as well as that may be similarly inappropriate.

  15. I do not believe it is a good idea to connect with students via social media. Many of my past students try to make that connection and I appreciate that they want to keep in touch but I encourage an email instead. My private life needs to remain that way and it is the same reason my phone number is unlisted. I do not do anything wrong but I don’t want my students to be privy to y private life and I have no desire to be part of or observe theirs.

  16. As educators, we might have the best intentions, to stay in touch and socialize, when connecting with students through a social network. The problem, however, is that your own social network page is viewed by and accessible to others, even when you have the best security settings. You cannot control what others (students, friends, family, etc) post or ‘tag’ you in, and you cannot control how information is interpreted and shared by others. You can only delete something once you have seen it; which means others may have seen it, also.

  17. I honestly do not believe a teacher should become friends with a student on facebook. I believe that there are too many risks for teachers. In addition, the teacher needs to remain professional and keep their personal lives personal. This does not happen if you become friends with your students on facebook. I also believe that altought teachers may be a students role model and provide their students guidance and support, it is not professional or apprioprate for teachers to be friends with their students on a social media site.

  18. Maria-I do not think that students and teachers should be connected via social media. I think communicating through this venue keeps friends connected, but it crosses some boundary issues when it is done with a student and teacher. Although a teacher’s role has changed over the years, their primary focus is to educate students. Staying connected to discuss information pertaining to their class can be done through other, less personal means, such as Moodle.

  19. I don’t think it’s ever appropriate to accept a friendship with current or former students on Facebook, this can only lead to trouble and as an educator why would you risk that? Some teachers in building are friends with students on Facebook…I’m concerned that if the don’t have their privacy settings on and I’m friends with them that these students can see my information as well!

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