Teachers Feel the Full Force of Internet Cyber Bullies

Daily Mail (London), March 3, 2009 | Go to article overview

Teachers Feel the Full Force of Internet Cyber Bullies


Byline: by Graham Grant

THEY have transformed everyday life, making global communication easier than ever before.

But the rise of the internet and the growing popularity of mobile phones have also created a minefield for teachers.

New figures suggest that up to one in five teachers has suffered abuse from pupils via websites or mobile phones.

Staff have reported children writing sexually obscene comments about them on social networking sites such as Bebo and even superimposing their faces on to pornographic images and posting them on websites.

Teaching union the Educational Institute of Scotland (EIS) has accused the police of not taking such cyber crimes seriously and has called for offending children to be arrested.

The Teacher Support Network (TSN), a charity that runs a helpline for teachers and their families, has produced aand their families, has produced a survey of cyber bullying. It found 15 per cent of teachers say they have been cyber bullied, while 20 per cent say colleagues have been cyber bullied. Of the victims, 61 per cent received offensive emails.

Some 15 per cent of teachers thought cyber bullying was not appropriately dealt with by the school, while 74 per cent thought it was not properly dealt with by websites such as YouTube.

TSN chief executive Patrick Nash said: 'It's terrible to have critical, malicious things said about you in a text message or on a website.

'It can damage the mental and physical health of teachers and it's detrimental to the educational process.

'We know from our advisers that more and more people are suffering these problems, but these figures show how bad it is.' Mr Nash accused websites which allow pupils to 'grade' their teachers and make comments about them of encouraging the publication of offensive material.

In 2007, the EIS called on those behind such sites to take more responsibility for what was published. But the latest survey results suggest little has changed.

One Scottish secondary teacher, who does not want to be named, said she was forced out of the profession last September after six months of bullying via mobile phone messages and sexually obscene comments on social networking sites. …

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