A new code of ethics for teachers includes advice about appropriate social media use and how to ensure appropriate boundaries between young teachers and students.
The Education Council has released a draft code, with its chief executive Dr Graham Stoop telling MPs today that the current version, written in 2003, was outdated.
"In 2003 when the last code was written there was no social media.
"Now, teachers are struggling with the interface between them and their professional role, and them as members of society with Facebook accounts and Twitter accounts and so on," Stoop told Parliament's education committee today.
"Another good example, and this is getting to the heart of things folks, but we may as well talk about it, is boundaries around relationships that exist between young teachers and senior students.
"We do need to provide a little bit more guidance with respect to that.
"This new code, gently, points out the importance of professional boundaries and gives examples, positive and negative, of what that might look like."
The draft code lists examples of teacher behaviour that may breach ethical and professional boundaries.
They include adopting a welfare role with students that is beyond the scope of a teacher's position, such as becoming a counsellor, confidant or friend, or taking on a type of parenting role.
Teachers are also advised against privately meeting students outside school without a valid context, privately giving students personal gifts or special favours, and accessing a student's information, contact details or other records without a valid reason.
If actions could be interpreted as blurring professional boundaries teachers are told to inform and seek authorisation from a more senior staff member.
A footnote in the code on inappropriate relationships advises that the length of time between the conclusion of a teacher-student relationship and the beginning of an intimate relationship is only one of a number of factors that could determine the appropriateness of a teacher's conduct.
"Other considerations might include the age difference between the learner and the teacher, the vulnerability, emotional or social maturity of the learner, and whether the relationship was formed while there was a teacher-learner relationship," the code states.
Stoop told the education committee that about 80 per cent of respondents had a favourable view of the draft code.
"It will be an online code. You will be able to click on a part of the code which will take you through to some examples, which you will be able to use in centres and schools as part of professional development.
"The sector wanted to have a little bit more robustness to the code, a few more examples where you might be meeting or breaching it."
Last year the Herald reported on the case of Sam Back, who taught at Gisborne Intermediate School but was eventually struck off for "intimate" contact with a 13-year-old girl, who was later found dead.
A Teachers Council tribunal barred Back from teaching again after hearing evidence of "intense" and "intimate" contact with the girl, who had been his student in 2013 at the age of 12. Police investigated Back and his contact with the girl and did not lay any charges.
Back told the girl he "so badly" wanted "to climb in your window right now", according to emails and letters exchanged between them. However, the tribunal found that the evidence did not "establish any form of romantic or sexual engagement".