After research showed that one in five teachers has been abused online, the Education Secretary has issued advice on how to avoid being victimised. A survey from the NASUWT showed the extent that teachers are being bullied online, with more than 20% of teachers reporting having derogatory comments posted about them by parents and pupils. In one case, a pupil had tweeted comments to a teacher that not only insulted them but also their family members.
The Independent reports that the DfE has published guidance coinciding with Anti Bullying Week which pointed out that it isn’t only pupils who are victims of cyberbullying. “We all know the dangers children face from online bullies – but we sometimes forget that teachers are not immune from abuse which impacts on them professionally and personally,” Education Secretary Nicky Morgan said. “It’s vital that our teachers feel able to do their jobs properly, including being able to take a firm stance on poor behaviour. To do that they need to know their school will take action against online harassment and abuse.”
Teachers are being advised to take the following actions to minimise the threat of online abuse:
• Do not befriend pupils or former pupils on Facebook or Twitter.
• Try searching their own names on the internet to scan for any negative comments.
• Be wary of being tagged in inappropriate photographs or videos. (One teacher wasn’t appointed after the head who interviewed her found a picture of her drinking online.)
• Remove any compromising photos of themselves on beach holidays or attending parties.
ASCL’s Brian Lightman commented: “While new technologies and wider access to the internet bring exciting, educational opportunities, cyber-bullying can have a pernicious impact.”
Have you been a victim of cyberbullying and if so how has it affected you? Share your experiences with the Eteach community.