Using Social Media

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Purpose of these guidelines

To provide a practical online guide to support Department employees in schools understand and meet the obligations and recommended standards of behaviours set out within existing instruments, policies and guidelines when using social media tools for personal or professional purposes.


Schools should use the Using Social Media: Guide for DEECD Employees in Schools as a component of their professional learning programs, see: Using Social Media: Guide for DEECD Employees in Schools

Elements of the using Social Media: guide for DEECD employees in schools

This table lists the key components of the using Social Media Guide. 

Item Description

Definition of social media 

 Provides definitions of social media including:

  • Social networking sites (e.g. Facebook, LinkedIn, Myspace)
  • Video and photo sharing web sites (e.g. Flickr, Youtube)
  • Blogs, including corporate blogs and personal blogs
  • Micro-blogs (e.g. Twitter)
  • Forums, discussion boards and groups (e.g. Google groups, Whirlpool)
  • Wikis (e.g. Wikipedia)
  • Vod and podcasts
  • Video conferences and web conferences
  • e-mail and instant messaging.

Social media also includes all other emerging electronic/digital communication applications. 


This Guide applies to all Department employees who work in an educational setting. It also includes all contractors and volunteers engaged by the Department, school councils, schools, regional offices or district offices. 

Policies, Instruments and Guidelines 

Provides extracts from the policies, instruments and guidelines below that are relevant to Department employees in education settings when using social media tools:

  • Public Administrations Act 2004 (Vic) and the VPS Code of Conduct made under that Act, which applies to the public sector
  • Part 2.4 of the Education Training and Reform Act 2006 and any relevant Ministerial Order made under that Act which applies to the teaching service
  • Information Privacy Act 2000
  • Acceptable Use Policy for the Department's ICT Resources
  • Professional Codes of Conduct. 

Appropriate Use Case Studies

Provides real-life case studies demonstrating social media tools being used appropriately with a clear educational context.

Inappropriate Use Case Studies

Provides real-life case studies demonstrating social media tools being used inappropriately. These case studies are designed to engage Department employees in schools, both as individuals and as a group, in furthering their learning by considering the implications of using social media.

Step-by-step Guides

Provide practical steps and actions that will further support Department employees in educational settings to protect, respond to or manage an online incident of concern:

  1. Step-by-step Guide for Responding to Online Incidents of Inappropriate Behaviour by Students
  2. Step-by-step Guide for Removing Inappropriate Content from a web site, Facebook or other Social Media Site
  3. Step-by-step Guide for DEECD Employees to Access Legal and Wellbeing Support for Online Incidents of Concern.

Misuse and legal consequences

Recognising the seriousness of misusing social media tools, this section describes what misuse may involve and the potential legal consequences for such misuse.

Things to consider when setting up a social media profile

Provides basic information about the functionality and related considerations that Department employees in schools should familiarise themselves with. Features include privacy options, site terms and conditions, sharing images and digital content and subscribing to groups.

Related Policies

Department resources