Protect or not?

I was asked today whether or not a school or class twitter account should be protected or not (a parent had suggested they should lock down the accounts and only allow approved followers) and whether there was any advice or guidance I could share on the matter. Here’s what I said in my reply. I thought it worth sharing wider:

As a rule, I would advocate open unless there is a compelling argument otherwise – this ensures a wide audience etc. Ask yourself (and the parent maybe) “What exactly are your concerns about the followers and why would you want to set it to accepted followers only?” I’d love to know the answer to this one.

Here are some concerns that may be cited: 

–    Predatory undesirables may follow the account. Answer: They could do this whether or not the account is protected. How would you know whether the request from @dave32457 is Nathan’s grandpa in Australia or a predatory undesirable? What’s more, if you set the account to protected and needed to approve followers you would get:
1. An additional administrative overhead (are you going to ask every new follower to explain who they are and why they want to follow? How would you ever know if that’s the truth?) and
2. A potentially greater problem if it turned out that one of the followers was a known predatory undesirable and the school had (albeit inadvertently) approved them as a follower – the press would like that, I reckon!
virtual blackjack machines for sale

–     Some Twitter accounts are clearly undesirable and inappropriate to have as followers. This is an unfortunate feature of Twitter that occasionally such accounts appear as new followers. This is the only potentially compelling argument to protect a class/school account. However, for me, it doesn’t outweigh the benefits of being open. My advice on this would be to monitor followers daily and block any inappropriate or undesirable ones. You may have to actually view the timeline of the new follower’s account for this.

–     Followers are visible as followers and they may tweet inappropriate things and this may impact negatively on our reputation as a school by association. My answer to this is that what your followers say on Twitter is no more your responsibility than what parents might say down the pub or on Facebook – it is their look-out.

–     “I don’t want my chiild’s image published on the internet.” This is more than just a Twitter argument actually. Answer: Why not? Exactly why not? Ok, fair enough if there is a genuine child-protection issue but if not? What exactly are you worried about? what is the safest online gambling sites

 One of the great things about an unprotected account is that it does provide a genuine and potentially huge global audience which is one compelling reason for a school/class to use Twitter, alongside the other which is parental engagement. Another, slightly technical reason for keeping it open is that retweets from protected accounts do not work so, someone like myself (or Nathan’s mum for instance) would be unable  to share further the fabulous stuff being tweeted  (including to Nathan’s grandpa – who might not yet be following). I love the way that I can share the greatness of Twitter as a fantastic school tool by retweeting school/class accounts to my wider following of schools and educators and this would be curtailed with a protected account. Whether you follow other accounts and who they are is another matter and worthy of some caution and consideration as it represents a choice. video poker download

What do you think? Should schools or classes protect or unprotect their Twitter feeds? Is it different for a class account vs a school account? Have I missed anything? I would really welcome your input as a comment! roulette uk

Images with thanks to leehaywood on Flickr (via creative commons)

5 thoughts on “Protect or not?

  1. Thought provoking post, I personally think protecting an account gives an illusion of security which is not real for reasons you point out above. If a teacher and class decides to use twitter, they may as well leave the account open to get into the spirit of how twitter works. As you say, a daily administrative task can remove spam and undesirable followers and you have the advantage when doing this of reporting them if they have spammed or tweeted something inappropriate. This means they won’t bother you again and if enough people do this, twitter will suspend the account.

  2. Sharing work, images etc on Twitter is no different from doing the same on a school website. As long as it is done with common sense, and takes into account any genuine child protection issues, then there should be no problem. At a push, Twitter could be argued to be ‘safer’ than a school website as you can actually see who is following you.

    I am hoping to trial this at my school soon using unprotected tweets. It would be very difficult to manage a whole school account if it was protected.

    singapore online casino
  3. Engaging post as always Dughall and I if a school is considering using Twitter I think the argument you put for not using a protected account makes a lot of sense. As always the use of social media can create a real marmite moment with staff and parents alike based on their own use of social media or what they have read in the media. I believe the secret to engaging the ‘non believers’ is to find time to sit and have an open conversation (whether it be staff or parents) on how Twitter ‘works’ and the benefits of social media on the pupils with regard to increased attainment attitudes to learning and peer to peer assessment. This needs to be followed up by discussions of how the school manages safeguarding risks to pupils through appropriate policy (particularly AUPs and any policies on the safe and appropriate use of digital images within the school) and how resources such as Twitter can be used as a vehicle for developing safe and responsible online behaviours for the pupils engaged with its use. This is also an opportunity to talk about the wider issue of digital literacy and the need to prepare pupils for a world extremely rich in technology and social media. This approach can be a little time consuming but in my experience, particularly with parents, they are far more understanding when inappropriate tweets appear in the timeline which they inevitably will if the account becomes popular.
    @Pederosa virtual roulette wheel download

    uk casinos accepting us players
    us casinos 18
  4. Pingback: Twitter for Schools and Classes « ICT for Teaching & Learning in Falkirk Primary Schools real money casino app for iphone

    wsj virtual casino

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked * real money virtual games

real slots online for ipad

real casinos online slots