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Management view on social networking policy


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Have posted in this section as I would like a manegers view

 

Inviting or accepting parents or carers whilst children in the setting is a real no no for me. But this is really difficult to enforce unless you adopt stalker like tendencies

 

So what does your policy say and if it says no then how do you enforce.

 

Mine says strongly advice' not too' but would like to say' must not '

 

Thoughts please thank you guys xx

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We just say we won't befriend anybody on a personal level while their children are with us but we've got a playgroup page which staff and parents are members of so nobody need feel miffed by it. I actually de-friended two moms went I worked there this year.

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I think you just have to make sure everyone knows the policy, understands why and signs their agreement and then you have to trust everyone will adhere to it. You'll also have to state what repremand will follow should they go against it. Then you just have to trust!

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I checked with our employment consultancy and they said we couldn't stipulate who people could be friends with just clearly state our expectations. So no talking about the child via Facebook, putting anything that shows the nursery negatively etc. I am friends with people who I have been friends with before their child even starts as are others but we are very rural and it's everyone kind of knows everyone anyway around here!! We haven't had any problems in this respect but as I said it is a very small rural area and staff team so in a different situation I can see the issue. I can email you out policies on Tuesday if you wanted to see x

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I don't see how you can enforce that anymore than you would enforce don't text or email friends that are parents, and as woodlands says many are 'friends' long before they become setting parents, our policy just emphasises that we expect them to use 'good judgement' and what isn't acceptable.

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Thank you for the offer, I have a policy, it's more thoughts as I have been doing a review of policies. I wouldn't ask someone to de friend someone that was added before they came as parents or carers to the setting or after the child has left, although heaven knows why you would want parents knowing very personal aspects of your life or your family!

 

It is just purely while they are part of your setting.

 

I have a freind who teaches in a London school and they are not allowed face book during their employment , there are also some jobs that will not allow face book or networking,

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While I was the preschool manager I had two Facebook pages, one as my manager persona with the parents on, so I could send messages etc and the other a private one just for family and non preschool friends.

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This is an extract from our staff handbook

Social networking websites

XXXXXXX respects employees’ right to a private life. However, we must also ensure that confidentiality and our reputation are protected. If you use social networking websites, we therefore require you to:

 

* refrain from identifying yourselves as working for the early years setting;

* ensure that you do not conduct yourself in a way that is detrimental to the early years setting; and

* take care not to allow your interaction on these websites to damage working relationships between employees and service users of the early years setting.

However this is what goes out to parents

Social Networking – Please note that members of the XXXXXX staff team are unable to accept any “friendship” requests from clients of the setting and as such we would ask you to refrain from approaching them via social networking sites for this purpose. Where social networking friendships are in place prior to individuals becoming clients of the setting members of staff are advised to “de-friend” clients however if this is not possible we would ask you to respect our normal setting contact protocols and not try to discuss issues regarding the setting or your children via social networking media.

 

Whilst we are not saying that they MUST "defriend" people, my staff prefer for me to be the "big bad wolf" and say that it is me that says they have to "defriend" so that no one feels "insulted".

We debated this during one of our staff meetings and my staff say they would rather not have parents as friends whilst the children are enrolled at the setting even if they have been social networking friends before because in the past before we addressed this parents would be facebooking staff about all sorts of things because they had "lost" the newsletter, couldn't remember times for the nativity play, wanted to know what had happened to their friends little boy/girl etc. and my staff felt uncomfortable with this.

I am long enough in the tooth to not be bothered if parents think that I am an old dragon for not letting them be "friends" with the staff and if they can find sufficient room in my back to put another knife in then good luck to them xDxD

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Guest itsnoelquinn

I agree with those who state a no friends policy - it blurs the boundaries and this isn't doing the best for the child. Anyone who wishes to cause harm to a child is in a very strong position to develop a trusting relationship with a family if they are allowed to friend parents on Facebook, and once the child understands that this is a close attachment their vulnerability is exposed. As practitioners we should understand that this is what it means to work with children - if we don't like it we are probably in the wrong job. When those children move on, and let's face it, it's probably only a year or so, we can pick up these "friendships" again.

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This is an interesting subject!! Is it just social networking we are discussing or personal friendships? I can not see how a setting can have a no friend policy that is full proof and how can it be enforced. Maybe good practice guidance is more effective than a policy.

My best friend since I was four is now sending her little girl to my setting, knowing that me and my team would be caring for her precious child. I would never dream of not being her friend for two years! I've given care, love and advice from the time her baby was born, why should that change now. I work professionally and take my job seriously. Of course I am not her key person but by having contact with her child I'm a positive link between her homelife and preschool.

Understanding and supporting attachment and parent partnership working is a fundamental aspect of key working, I really don't understand your comment itsnoelquinn about a child being more vulnerable if a staff member has befriended a parent on facebook.How would a two year old see facebook friends as a symbol of attachment. Maybe I'm tried but I don't understand the link. I am not a face book user so maybe I shouldn't even comment on social networking issues. However in my setting I/we promote a culture of professionalism and any grey areas of friendships/relationships are dealt with on an individual basis.

Can I also add we can not always control who we automatically click with, but its our actions/behaviours we can control. Of course the needs of the key child is paramount. I have allowed a parent friendship to develop outside of preschool, once my key child left for primary school.

Very sleepy Silvermist

Off to bed now so if my comments don't make sense or I'm rambling please ignore!!!

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The point is friendships outside of social networking are just that and are confidential and private. Friendships on face book are not and once something is out in the public domain it has the potential to be used for something else.

It just takes your friend to share one of their friends to share and on it goes , you do not always know the levels of security on other peoples pages.

 

On top of that it can leave staff vulnerable when an incident, or a misunderstood message, a disagreement happen with child, parent and setting

 

I have not asked staff to de friend old friends but add or request new parents to the setting.

 

I ask that staff do not talk about children ,the staff or the setting when out and about, or to friends or on posts

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I think nowadays as well you need to be thinking of social media as a whole rather than just Facebook, there's twitter, Instagram etc and these are very different with a more 'open' sense to them. In all our policies it says social media as a whole it doesn't single out particular sites, may be worth considering if you haven't already x

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  • 3 weeks later...

I am the owner/manager of a nursery and just in the process of amending our policies around staff befriending parents after a situation occurred yesterday.....

 

Basically 2 of my staff members befriended a parent whose child used to attend our setting around 6 months ago. I found out that they had been meeting up outside nursery and wasn't particularly pleased about it. They are also friends with her on Facebook. I reminded then several times about our policy surrounding social networking and about confidentiality and professional lines being blurred. But didn't go as far as to enforce any specific RULES about friendships outside of nursery. Now I am regretting it.....

 

This parent left nursery owing a significant amount of money which we are now taking her to small claims court over. This has stayed confidential with only management aware of this. I am aware that the other 2 staff still meet with her. Last night the parent wrote all sorts of horrible things all over facebook about me after receiving the court summons, threatening me and bad mouthing my business. She then went on to post a lot of personal information about me being pregnant and about the baby's father leaving me - this information must have come from one of the staff members. And one of them actually clicked that they liked it!!

 

Besides this being extremely upsetting for me, it is terrible for my business which I have worked extremely hard to build up over the years. Plus if staff are so free to share my personal information with a parent, what's to say they wouldn't share information about families using our service and they are not gossiping about them.

 

I am trying to figure the best way for me to deal with this without going in all guns blazing, and to amend our policies and update contracts to make this "friendships" issue and social networking policy is extremely clear and what disciplinary procedures will be followed if it is breeched.

 

This is not the first time I have had issues with this with these staff, it was only a few weeks ago that one had approached a parent asking for a job on the days she is not at nursery (which could potentially come with its own headaches)

 

I would love to hear how you all feel about practitioners having friendships with parents, and as a manager what policies you have in place.

 

Also any advice, thoughts etc on the above would be much appreciated.

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How awful for you - social media or the devil in disguise I call it in instances like this!!

Real friendships are something out of your control but confidentialily isn't - I think I would be looking at that and what we call our IT policy which covers social media, phones, tablets etc, etc

Good luck with it all

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First let me say- how awful for you. However although you can and should do something about the social media thing I'm really not sure what you can do about friendships? What would you do if it was a relation to a member of staff? My staff have all (including myself) over the years had nieces,nephews, children and grandchildren come through the group.

I think all you can do is tighten up your confidentiality policy, social media policy, IT policy etc. I'm not even sure you can stop people being 'friends' on facebook? Perhaps you could have something along the lines of:

Company policy frowns on staff members friending (or whatever it is called) parents on social networking sites

Discussing company policies or business with non staff members outside of the setting, including verbal & non verbal such as text, social networks, internet forums etc as well as including discussing personal business of not just settings families but staff, will be deemed as bringing the company into disrepute and treated most severely.

Sorry it is worded very badly but you can get the general meaning. You do need to act and in my opinion swiftly and sharply! You really cannot have staff you cant trust and if staff are gossiping about you then they cat be trusted. I'm not sure how you can prove who told the parent this though? But you can pull her up on 'liking it'

I'm sorry I havent been much help to you but i really do sympathize. I'm lucky as the average age of my staff is 51 with only one under the age of 40, and I think I'm the only one who even knows how to use facebook!! I do hope you can sort this.

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You said the child used to come presumably they befriended after he left, I don't think you can dictate when the child has left.

And can only have a disciplinary problem if they breach your confidentiality policy.

 

I can't understand people who befriend parents, my personal life remains that and I only want to share with family and friends.

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This is an awful situation for you.............and those members of staff you DO trust. Personally, I'd take these two to one side, make it clear that you have seen the fb stuff and make it clear that as it breaches confidentiality, their jobs could be at risk. It might be an idea then to have a full staff meeting, to firm up exactly what consitutes 'confidentiality' as some folks ideas will differ from others, as you have just discovered. I guess the big lesson to learn is not to tell staff anything you wouldn't want publicly known ( as regards to your personal life). I'm sorry you're going through this and I hope that some short sharp words will sort the staff out. Be firm and let them know you mean what you say

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