Social Media Policy and Digital Citizenship

Social Media Policy and Digital Citizenship

Information is an overt aspect of our political, economic and social life and coupled with knowledge has always been a fundamental part of human activity (Dearnley and Feather, 2001). Information Policy includes such information components as copyright, data protection, freedom of the press and freedom of information (Dearnley and Feather, 2001). It is a regulatory framework within which information can be stored and disseminated.

A social media policy outlines for employees the corporate guidelines or principles of communicating in the online world (Lauby, 2009).

As schools look to bridge the digital divide between home media usage and school, more and more schools are implementing 1-1 programmes making students connected 24/7. Although our students have been born in the digital era and have been immersed in technology all their lives they are still often novices when searching and evaluating information and in understanding the implications of misuse of technologies and social media. Students must learn to be critical and perceptive when searching for information in order to navigate complex information environments (O’Connell, 2012). All care should be given to fully understanding the benefits, privacy policy, terms of use and constraints of a tool before giving it to users and implementing its use into the library setting. In conjunction, Cyber Ethics and Cyber Safety should also be taught along with the essential skills of digital citizenship.

Ribble (2014) maintains there are nine themes of digital citizenship and they can be broken down to the following areas:

Respect Your Self/Respect Others

Etiquette – electronic standards of conduct or procedure

– Access- full electronic participation in society.

– Law – electronic responsibility for actions and deeds

Educate Your Self/Connect with Others

Communication – electronic exchange of information

– Literacy- process of teaching and learning about technology and the use of technology.

– Commerce – electronic buying and selling of goods.

Protect Your Self/Protect Others

-Rights and Responsibility – those freedoms extended to everyone in a digital world.

– Safety (Security) – electronic precautions to guarantee safety

– Health and Welfare – physical and psychological well-being in a digital technology world.

Developing digital literacy skills prepares students for a successful adulthood in a world increasingly saturated with digital technologies.

Steps to Develop a Social Media Policy (Anderson, 2014)

  1. Examine your school culture- How is social media currently being used by students? teachers? Administrators? parents?
  2. Organize a Team
  3. Research Phase – Look and review the existing policy and look at other policies.
  4. Draft the  document and incorporate feedback
  5. Check it is within the law
  6. Introduction to the School Community
  7. Review Periodically

Why have a social media Policy in schools?

A social media policy is a useful way to set some ground rules for teachers and students with regard to their online activities.

In our school, I am Chair of the ICT committee and have been involve in the writing of the staff Social Media Policy and the student Acceptable Use Policy. I am pleased to say that we followed the steps above when first looking at developing a policy five years ago. This course has made me evaluate our policies and I must say I am very pleased with our efforts.


Anderson, S. (2014). How to Create Social Media Guidelines for Your School. Edutopia. Retrieved January 2, 2014, from

Dearnley, J., & Feather, J. (2001). Information policy. The wired world: An introduction to the theory and practice of the information society (pp. 60-93). London: Library Association.

Lauby, S. (2009, April 27). Should Your Company Have a Social Media Policy? Retrieved from

O’Connell, J. (2012). So you think they can learn? Scan, 31(2), 5–11.

Ribble, M. (2014). Nine Themes of Digital Citizenship. Retrieved January 2, 2014, from


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