It appears teenagers are not the only ones subjected to cyberbullying on Facebook and Twitter, as more teachers are reporting an increase in abuse from students, and some parents, on social media sites.
A recent survey, conducted by the National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers (NASUWT) in the UK, found educators are facing an increase of vile sexual abuse, allegations of incompetence, as well as videos/pictures of themselves taken without their consent being posted on social media by their students.
Being an educator can be a difficult, miserable, demoralizing vocation – with long hours, little pay, and unappreciative and demanding parents, students, and co-facility. And even with the best of efforts, there are students who have a less than cordial relationship with their teachers.
This animosity can often fuel exchanges where the student, or even their parents, may lash out while face-to-face with less than polite language. But more often, due to repercussions, there is some effort of restraint.
However, social networking platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram have a dehumanizing way of destroying any sort of inhibition some people have – enabling them to express almost anything about, or to, anyone.
People have a reduced sense of accountability for their online actions, as seen in a survey of 7,500 teachers, where over a fifth of them report online abuse from students (64 percent) via social networking. Some parents (27 percent) were also found to be guilty of cyberbullying the teachers.
Social media remarks, primarily appearing on Facebook, included abusive and highly offensive language, accompanied by inappropriate statements about appearance, competence, and sexuality, explains RT.
Of those teachers receiving comments from students, 47 percent reported direct insults; 50 percent were chided for their performance; and 26 percent found videos/photos taken and posted without their consent.
Of the 27 percent of those teachers who reported being cyberbullied at the hands of disgruntled parents, 57 percent received insulting comments, and 63 percent were disparaged for their performance as an educator.
The majority of teachers (58 percent) did not report abuse on social media to their employer or authorities. Why? Because 64 percent of them didn’t think anything could be done; 21 percent did not think it would be taken seriously; nine percent were too embarrassed; and six percent had previously reported incidents which were left unresolved or mishandled.
The use of social media seems to have a double standard. While teachers have faced repercussions for being overzealous in expressing their feelings about their students on Facebook and Twitter, offensive students and parents have not been held to the same level of accountability for their cyberbullying.
When teachers did report abuse to superiors, 40 percent said no action was taken against the student(s) and 55 percent stated no action was taken against the offending parent.
When the police were alerted to the online abuse, 77 percent of teachers said no action was taken against the student or parent (76 percent).