Many a teacher is trying to find out the best tool for communicating with pupils. Nowadays when most children are given a mobile phone in lower primary, the logical choice would be social networks and various messengers, be it Facebook, WhatsApp or Viber.
When recommending such communication or creating a common group for the entire class, prudence should be exercised. Starting in May 2018 the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) regulation, is applied to these applications as well, and thus their use by persons under 16 or 13 (respectively, in accordance with national legislation), is conditional upon parental consent. Similar problem may arise with video consultations via Skype.
The rules for verifying age are rather easy to bypass (e.g. by intentionally providing a false date of birth or by simply checking the box “Over 16“), which however constitutes breaking the contract terms as well as the valid legislation. It cannot be excluded that in the future this breaking of law could help the social networks operators to, even partly, exculpate from their responsibility, e.g. in case of cyberbullying.
Unfortunately GDPR made conditions to use social networks at schools even more complicated. It, however, should not be a reason to resign to their use in teaching and especially in educational activity, when a teacher or a school prevention specialist walks the pupils e.g. though the security settings and warns them of the possible risks of individual applications.