I live in the United Arab Emirates, near Dubai; the laws on social media use are different from those of the western world. Even so, you can get yourself into trouble anywhere in the world if you post inappropriate content.
Being a teacher is one such profession where a great deal of care needs to be taken. You are looking after children and they have Mums and Dads that care about their welfare. Therefore, even posting about your night out in the pub can get you into trouble. I am a teacher myself, so I know I have to be extra careful what I do and say online.
Let's start by mentioning cases that have already happened. For example, there is a case of a teacher, from Ohio, who took a photo of her pupils with their mouths covered with duct tape duct tape. This was originally meant as a joke, but the teacher thought it would be a good idea to post a picture online.
“Finally found a way to get them to be quiet!!!" read the caption.
The teacher was fired.
You also need to be careful about your drinking activities. There is a well known case of a US teacher who was in Ireland. She is holding wine in one hand and a beer in the other and has a big grin on her face. However, parents complained about the photo and it was enough to cause this teacher to resign from her job.
It is never wise to insult a special needs student. They often get extra time in exams. This caused one teacher to have to stay behind for a few hours on the last day of term. The teacher decided to vent her frustrations on social media. When she returned after the holiday, she was told to leave.
The above cases are all from the US. But perhaps the silliest one is from the UK, where a teacher is replying to students’ posts. Some of these are about religion and she even implies that God may not exist. This teacher taught religion.
A few other things to be careful of.
- Don't insult parents after a meeting
- Don't take videos and pictures of school trips and post them without permission
- Make sure your post settings are for friends
- Don't be friends with students or parents
- Don't post anything that you wouldn't put on the staff room wall
- Remember, the students will search your name in Google
- Consider using a different name
- Remember, there may be someone working at your school who checks online habits of the teachers
- Mind your language
- Once it is out there, it is out there.
I’m now going to come to the country where I teach, United Arab Emirates near Dubai. There are even stricter laws that can land you in trouble.
A classic example is the case of an Australian woman. She was unhappy about the parking habits of her neighbour. She had decided to take a picture of the car, post it on Facebook and write an unsuitable caption to accompany the picture. She did blackout the vehicle registration number. However, she was reported by the owner of the car. She was deported.
She broke 3 laws. Taking a picture of the car in the first place, posting it without permission from the owner and writing an unsuitable comment.
It is illegal to take a picture of anyone without their permission. It is also not allowed, that any picture or video is uploaded without consent.
Other things to be careful of is taking pictures at the scene of an accident and then posting it online. It needs to be certain that no one is hurt, and people should not find out on Social Media. There have also been residents that have taken selfies in front of a burning building. It does not look good and can result in a possible prison sentence or deportation.
It is illegal to insult any religion. This applies online and this can land you in serious trouble. Also defaming and employer or the United Arab Emirate is a crime. You should not insult anyone at all. If you don’t have anything nice day say, probably best not say it.
Here are some things that can land you in trouble in the Middle East
- Taking a picture or video of someone and posting it online without their permission
- Tagging someone to a photograph without their permission
- Defaming your employer
- Defaming the country you live or work in
- Taking a picture of an accident scene and posting it
- Insulting religion, this can also include Christianity as well as Islam
- Spreading rumours
It is also advisable to be careful about taking pictures of school trips or production plays. Laws will change, the country is evolving, but getting caught doing any of the above things could see you being deported, but worse still, could land you in prison.