Acceptable Use of Computers policy: Social Networking policy
1.1 This policy on social networking websites is in addition to the College's existing Acceptable
1.2 Staff must ensure that they establish safe and professional online behaviour.
1.3 The purpose of this policy is:
1.3.1 to outline the responsibilities of members of staff using the Internet to access social
networking websites such as Facebook, MySpace, Bebo and Friendster.
1.3.2 To ensure that staff are aware that they can be putting themselves in a vulnerable
position when communicating with young people or vulnerable adults via social
2. Scope of this policy
2.1 This procedure will apply to all staff of the College and will be used objectively and free from
discrimination in accordance with the College's equality and diversity policies and procedures.
2.2 This policy applies to social networking sites. Social networking refers to a broad range of
websites and services that allow people to connect with friends, family, and colleagues online,
as well as meet people with similar interests or hobbies. Examples of social networking sites
are given in Annex A.
2.3 This policy applies to staff when they are using social networking sites on college or other
equipment and their use is linked to the College. Examples of ways in which staff are linked
to the College when they are using the Internet are:
using a College email address as their contact email;
stating in their profile that they work for Halesowen College;
stating in a discussion online that they work for Halesowen College;
posting comments/information about the college on social networking sites
joining College staff networks on external websites;
using social networking sites to communicate with students studying on the courses they
teach or support;
using networking sites from College computers.
This list gives examples of how someone can be linked to Halesowen College and is not
3.1 The Internet is provided by the College for business use.
3.2 The use of social networking sites for activities that are authorised is acceptable and it is
acknowledged that some staff use non-personal social networking sites as another method of
communication with outside contacts and with students.
3.3 The College recognises that many members of staff use the internet for personal and
recreational purposes outside working hours and that many staff participate in social
3.4 The College reserves the right to restrict access to these websites if it should be necessary.
3.5 When staff are using social networking sites and their use can be linked to Halesowen
College, then the member of staff is representing the College.
3.6 All staff should keep their work and private use of social networking sites separate. This
should be done by creating separate profiles.
3.7 Staff should not invite students to be a “friend” on their personal social networking site.
4.1 The College respects a member of staff’s right to a private life. However, the College must
also ensure that its reputation and confidentiality are protected. It must also ensure that staff
are protecting themselves when using the internet.
4.2 Staff using social networking websites in a manner that can be seen as representing the
College are required to:
set their profiles to private, so that they control who they allow to see their detailed
never access or use the social networking sites of students or use internet or web based
communications to send personal messages to a student
ensure that they do not conduct themselves in a way that is and/or could be seen as
bringing the College into disrepute;
ensure that any comments they post on these websites could not constitute bullying,
harassment or discrimination;
take care not to allow their interaction on these websites to damage working relationships
between members of staff and clients of the College;
take care not to allow their interaction with students to be construed as unprofessional.
Ensure that they do not contravene the Data Protection Act by posting information about
the college, its staff or students or any third party..
4.3 In addition if staff have personal profiles that they use outside College, they are reminded that
students will be able to view their profile if is set with public access, so they should take steps
to prevent themselves from revealing inappropriate or unprofessional information.
4.4 Any member of staff who has a concern about the potentially inappropriate use of social
networking sites should contact their line manager, a member of the Personnel team or the
Technical Services Director in the case of staff and the Director of Students Services in the
case of students..
5. Monitoring Internet access at work
5.1 Please refer to the Acceptable Use Policy.
6. Disciplinary action
6.1 The College monitors staff internet use to ensure that it is in accordance with this policy and
the Acceptable Use policy. In the event of suspected misuse, an investigation will be carried
out and disciplinary action may be taken in line with the College's Disciplinary policy.
7. Security and identity theft
7.1 Staff should be aware that social networking websites are a public forum, particularly if the
member of staff is part of a network. Staff should not assume that their entries on any website
will remain private, and should use the appropriate privacy settings to ensure their profile is
protected and not open to the general public. Staff should never send abusive, defamatory or
distasteful messages or post any offensive photographs, videos or the like.
7.2 Staff must also be security conscious and take steps to protect themselves from identity theft,
for example by restricting the amount of personal information that they give out. Social
networking websites allow people to post detailed personal information such as date of birth,
place of birth and favourite football team, which can form the basis of security questions and
passwords. In addition, staff should:
ensure that no information is made available that could provide a person with unauthorised
access to the College, its systems and/or any confidential information; and
refrain from revealing any sensitive and/or confidential information regarding the College
on any social networking website.
8.1 At no stage during the recruitment process will personnel and line managers conduct
searches on prospective members of staff on social networking websites. This is in line with
the College's Equality and Diversity policy
Approved by CE 12 May 2010
Review date: May 2011
Staff Council – 25 May 2010
Finance and Resources Committee – 22 June 2010
JJe/10 May 2010
Example Social Networking Sites.
Popular sites include:
Bebo (General. Popular in the US, UK, Ireland, NZ and the Pacific Islands)
Facebook (General. Popular Worldwide)
Faceparty (General. Popular UK)
Friends Reunited (UK based. School, college, work, sport)
Friendster (General. Popular in Southeast Asia)
Hi5 (General. Popular in Portugal, Cyprus, Romania and Latin-America)
Hospitality Club (Industry focused)
MyOperaCommunity (Opera focus)
MySpace (General. Popular in the United States of America, moderate popularity worldwide)
As sites are being created all the time this list is not exhaustive but is intended to demonstrate the
range of sites that are included within the term social networking.