Experts from a range of bodies have issued warnings after seeing an increase in online abuse of teachers at the hands of their pupils.
The Independent reports that one of the most common online ‘pranks’ is for students to create fake online dating accounts, which they then use to form relationships and set up meetings with staff before ultimately standing them up.
In one case, a teacher even had her picture taken during the moment she realised that her date was not going to materialise at a restaurant; a photograph which was subsequently circulated around the school.
Others have had images or videos of themselves taken in the classroom and shared online, which then attract negative comments about their personal appearance.
The Times Education Supplement says that increasing numbers of educators are being targeted by this kind of online humiliation, with Emma Robertson, co-founder of Digital Awareness UK, telling the title that violations of teachers’ private lives had become something of a ‘trend’ in recent times.
‘In the cases that have almost gone viral in the school, which everybody knows about, a lot of the time teachers will just be really upset and will come to us for one-to-one advice,’ she commented.
In fact, it’s estimated that a third of cases of online abuse are related to teachers who have been victimised, rather than pupil-on-pupil offences, a development which Emma refers to as ‘shocking’.
Also speaking to The Times, union general secretary Chris Keates agreed, adding that not only can the incidents be embarrassing for those involved, they may even have an impact on their future job prospects.
‘Too many teachers are being subjected to appalling levels of online harassment and victimisation from pupils and also parents,’ he said.
‘This has to stop. Being a victim of online abuse can be a very traumatic experience, which can potentially ruin lives and careers.’