family,  parenting

Social Media Issues – How Ontario Teachers Navigate the Waters

Social media issues can be challenging. It’s a field that is in a constant state of flux. Facebook changes its algorithm. Twitter offers a new feed. One network wanes while another jets off into the stratosphere. And just when you think you have it all figured out, suddenly your high schooler comes home talking about some new chat service that nobody over the age of 20 has EVER heard of before.


Social media issues can be a real danger to both children and the teachers responsible for their education. Teachers are the people who spend 5 to 6 hours a day with your child. They need to know how to navigate the social media waters, just like the rest of us. When social media issues like bullying happen it spills over into the school environment. Last September we dealt with a serious social media incident here when someone set up a fake Instagram account using my daughter’s name (spelled incorrectly.) It was an upsetting time for everyone.

In the hallway, one day during school another teen showed by daughter a fake Instagram account in her name. The fake account called many classmates Fat, Ugly and worse. Thankfully my teary-eyed grade nine daughter knew enough to go that day to a trusted adult in the school. She called me as well. Police were then also called to investigate. Although my daughter’s school did not yet have an Instagram policy one year ago, they handled the whole experience beautifully. The other child eventually confessed and we went through a restorative justice process with the teen. School staff supported us throughout.

Social media issues like bullying should not happen, but they do. Fortunately, Ontario teachers are fully equipped with the knowledge of how to deal with social media issues and how to keep them from occurring.

Ontario College of Teachers Advises Teachers

The Ontario College of Teachers has developed an advisory board to help teachers understand the impact that their own social media accounts can have on their students and their students’ parents. Although the College believes that e-communication and social media can and should play a large part in the relationship between teacher, student, and parent, the College also recognizes that there are inherent pitfalls that should be avoided.

The aim of the advisory is to educate teachers, reminding them that as professionals in a highly public field, they are always “on”. Just like doctors, nurses, lawyers, and other public professionals, teachers must adhere to a strict standard, whether it be at school or on their social media accounts. In fact, the Supreme Court of Canada has ruled that teachers “do not necessarily check their teaching hats at the school yard gate”.

The main takeaway from the advisory on social media issues is this: Teachers should conduct themselves on social media as they would conduct themselves in person. Which is something we should all do, really.

Ontario College of Teachers – A Complete Resource

In addition to providing teachers with an advisory board to help them navigate the waters of social media and social media issues, the Ontario College of Teachers is also an excellent resource for parents, as well.

Find a Teacher Page

The Ontario College of Teachers Find a Teacher page is a public register providing parents with information on every certified teacher in the Ontario public school system. Each teacher’s record includes:

  • Qualifications
  • Date of initial certification
  • Current status with the Ontario College of Teachers
  • Any applicable disciplinary history

The Standard

The Ontario College of Teachers The Standard e-newsletter is all about helping parents learn more about teachers. It’s another way that both teachers and parents can be connected on social media issues. The Standard e-newsletter includes:

  • Information on College services to help you learn more about teacher qualifications
  • Information on how the College ensures high standards in education
  • College reports on trends in education
  • Information on changes in education legislation

Social Media Issues – Not an Issue for Ontario Teachers

Social media issues aren’t an issue for Ontario teachers, or for you, thanks to the Ontario College of Teachers. The College works diligently to ensure teachers are aware of potential social media issues and prepared when a situation crops up. In addition, the College is also committed to keeping parents connected to Ontario’s school system and its teachers.

For more information you can also follow the Ontario College of Teachers on their social media accounts.

Twitter – @OCT_OEEO

Facebook –

Youtube –

Sign up for their newsletter and stay informed –

English: Newsletter for Parents

French: Public Newsletter for Parents and Others – in French

Thrifty Momma’s Tips worked with The Ontario College of Teachers and Main Street Creative to bring this post to you. It is a sponsored post, and as such I received compensation. My opinion is always truthful. 

Mom of two beautiful active girls, traveller, fitness junkie, social media consultant, and keeper of the sanity.


  • Little Miss Kate

    It is amazing to think of how teaching has changed due to social media in the last 15 years. It adds unique challenges for teachers and administrators that is for sure. Glad to hear they are being proactive about it, as everything changes so quickly.

  • Terri Beavers

    I worry about the kids being online and especially when it comes to social media sites. I think it’s great and reassuring that Ontario College of Teachers assists teachers to navigate the waters.

  • April Mims

    The online world can be so scary, especially when children are involved. It can be such a useful tool, but unfortunately, so many kids get brave behind the keyboard and bully others.

  • Gwendolyn Mulholland

    It is so scary how many ways that social media can be used for bad things. This makes being a child so much harder. It is great that Ontario teachers have a tool they can use to stay up to date with the latest trends. I am glad that the school was supportive of you and your daughter.

  • Aeryn Lynne

    That is awesome!! It would be amazing if other advisories provided similar help to improve social interaction on these networks. Some people/companies are stars, and others are one off-comment away from either being ignored or abhorred.

    • Paula

      Aeryn – you are absolutely right. Some are understanding social is here to stay and you better get out ahead of it or at least try to keep pace and then some advisories and businesses simply ignore. I have seen some missteps lately from businesses and groups. It’s smart thinking on Ontario teachers part that they had this training and guidelines available.

  • Kathy

    It’s crazy how social media can be. I hardly ever let my girls on the computer. They’re so young yet anyways. I usually just let them play some educational games.

  • Rebecca Swenor

    The Ontario College of Teachers sounds like a great source for parents and teachers. I think this source is great for parents and well as teacher to see what is going on with social media. It really is important for both to keep up with new or old problems and fixes. Thanks for sharing the information.

  • Ann Bacciaglia

    I will have to check out the Ontario College of Teachers Find a Teacher page. I think it is great you can look up your kids teachers and see there stats.

  • RUth Ann

    I am very pleased to see that the teachers have support and resources to help them keep up with the every growing world of social media. As a parent it is nice to know there are other out there trying to look out for our children as well.

  • HilLesha

    Social media can be used for many good things, but it’s often misused for things like bullying. It’s truly sad how people use social platforms to torment others.

  • Lori Felix

    It’s great that the Ontario College of Teachers helps teachers to understand social media and how their accounts can impact their students. My daughter is a teacher and is always careful with her posts because she never knows who is going to see them.