The growing popularity of social networks leads to a host of new problems that weren’t faced by society in the pasr. This time it is a science teacher, who is at the centre of controversy.
Kirsty Cook-Bell, 33, who teaches at a school sponsored by a Christian charity got herself in trouble after some pictures of her on Facebook were discovered by her students.
The pictures, which show her in a bikini and blowing a kiss at the camera with lipstick smeared on her face while she was on vacation, have been described as being “semi-nude” and “inappropriate”.
Some of the tweets she sent out on her Twitter account have also raised eyebrows. One of them said, “Celebrating being able to slack off and get abuse from the public about my low life job!!!”
The Association of Teachers and Lecturers has also issued warnings to members of their union on their own Facebook page, about behaviour that could be deemed as inappropriate. Their advice includes ensuring that any contact with students is kept strictly within an educational context and setting privacy settings on social networks to control who can see private information.
While there will probably be an almost equal number of people who would support the actions of the teacher concerned, as those who will oppose her, the whole controversy could easily have been avoided if she had just taken care to mark her photos as ‘private’ thus ensuring that they were seen only by her friends and not by others such as her students or colleagues.
Facebook could also help ease such situations by publicising privacy controls more and working harder on making it easy for users to protect their private information rather than driving users to share everything by default.