Thursday 17th November 2011, London
– 17% of teachers in the UK have personally experienced or know a colleague who has experienced ‘cyberbaiting’, according to research released today by leading internet safety company Norton. The annual Norton Online Family Report found that cyberbullying is no longer just a peer-to-peer problem but is also emerging as a student-to-teacher issue.
While 77% of teachers say their school has a code of conduct regarding teacher and student online interaction, 16% do not have a code and 7% don’t know of one. The older the school year, the less likely the teacher is to have a code of online conduct. Sixth form or college teachers are almost three times as likely to not have a code of online conducts as primary school teachers, despite their students spending more time online.
Deborah Preston, Norton’s Online Safety Expert, explains, "It is common knowledge that some unruly students will openly taunt their teacher during class to get a reaction or disrupt the lesson. However, the digital age has opened up a whole new platform for classroom conflict. Teachers are now faced with being covertly filmed by students on their mobile phones, capturing their reaction to an incident and then distributing it online instantaneously. Teachers need to be aware of the growth of cyberbaiting and keep close control on the effect of technology on the classroom.”
Alice Robertson, President of the Association of Teachers and Lecturers, says, "Cyberbaiting is a cruel way to expose the victim to widespread public humiliation. It can be hugely damaging to self-esteem, confidence and reputation – and even break careers. It is not a trivial matter and needs to be taken as seriously as all other forms of bullying. We urge teachers to take steps to protect themselves and, at the same time, we demand all schools and colleges have robust policies to deal with cyberbaiting and to enforce these rigorously."
Siôn Humphreys, Policy Advisor at the National Association of Head Teachers, says, ”NAHT welcomes this latest research confirming the findings of other reports drawing attention to this emerging problem. The Association is equally concerned with the tendency of some parents to use social media to criticise and sometimes insult and threaten teachers with whom they have a disagreement. Such situations are even more difficult to deal with as schools have no formal authority over parents. Any technology has the capacity to be misused and there are undoubtedly some incidents of this nature in schools. This should not deflect attention away from exploring the great potential that smart phones and similar devices have as tools for teaching and learning. The government’s commitment to tackling bullying in all its manifestations is to be welcomed and we hope that this extends to all its aspects.”
The research into children’s online activities by the world's largest internet security firm also uncovered:
- 30% of kids have been victims of cybercrime and 52% have experienced a negative online situation – far more than parents realise (12% and 25% respectively).
- Only 7% of parents in the UK say they have no idea what their children do online, but 16% of children in the UK think their parents have no idea about their online activities.
- 38% of kids say they sometimes stop what they are doing online if they know their parents are watching.
- 39% have checked their online usage or browser history without their kids knowledge.
- 18% have secretly checked their social network site.
- 4 in 10 parents have house rules about how much time their kids can spend online.
- Only 38% have set parental controls on the family computer.
Deborah Preston adds, “This year’s Norton Online Family Report highlights the scale of unrestricted internet use that children have in the UK. Much more needs to be done to align children, parents and teachers on safe internet use.”
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About Norton Online Family Report
The Norton Online Family Report is essentially a subsection of the larger Norton Cybercrime Report 2011. The researchers interviewed 2,956 parents (sub-set of adults 18+), 4.553 children and 2,379 teachers from 24 countries. In the UK, the sample size was 800. The Norton Online Family can be read by visiting www.norton.com/cybercrimereport
What is Cyberbaiting?
By cyberbating we are referring to students irritating a teacher until the teacher gets so frustrated they yell or have a breakdown. Students are ready for this 'crack' and record the moment for immediate online distribution.