A Jewish Educator’s Guide to Facebook Interaction

Published: 
August 7, 2011

Source: Hirhurim – Musings

 

Jonathan Burg examines the advantages, disadvantages and challenges involved in the use of Facebook as a media of contact between teachers and students in Modern Orthodox schools. He then proceeds to formulate a guide for educators to help them determine if they should use Facebook as a medium of communication with their students and how to do so constructively and carefully.

 

Burg points out that the crux of this question centers on the nature of the educator/student relationship, as well as the inherent informality of digital social communications.

Among the advantages:

  • Facebook makes it incredibly easy to stay in touch with many, many people over time. This is arguably the ideal platform for maintaining multiple relationships over time, far more so than email.
  • For many teachers, teaching someone how to be a man of substance (a.k.a. living like a Jew) already includes inviting students into one’s home. The same principles that students observe sitting around his Shabbat table can be demonstrated in how he interacts with his own social circles on Facebook.

Among the disadvantages:

  • There are times when educators knowingly turn a blind eye towards their students’ behavior in or outside of the classroom. Facebook changes this dynamic by giving the educator incredible and even unhealthy access to their students’ personal lives.
  • There is a level of safety and professionalism that is found in counseling someone while maintaining a degree of personal detachment. Pervasive student access to their mentors’ personal social lives isn’t always healthy to the relationship.

See the Educator’s Guide to Facebook Interaction on Hirhurim – Musings.

 

See some practical suggestions for using Facebook safely by Rabbi Tzvi Pittinsky.

 

 

Updated: May. 15, 2012
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