The Troll in the classroom

E-safety for schools is about more than safeguarding the pupils

E-safety Teachers BulliedTeachers are facing a growth of incidents of online abuse, including name-calling, personal insults, sexual smears and even threats of violence from both students and their parents.

In the past, the most abuse that teachers could expect was maybe a bit of cheeky back chat, which would be quickly dealt with, with nothing much more than a stern word and a detention and if parents asked the child why he/she had been detained then their reaction would be along the lines of “Good! I hope you learn your lesson and don’t do it again?”

These days, however, there has been a quantum leap in the attitude to teachers by some parents and, digital technology, along with all the positive opportunities it offers, has provided these parents with a sinister outlet to vent their anger when they find out that their ‘pride–and-joy’ has been reprimanded (nearly always wrongly, in their eyes) for some misdemeanour.

Increasingly, teachers are having to endure online abuse from not only students, but their respective parents as well. This growing abuse includes personal insults, accusations of paedophilia or of having sex with students, as well as racist, sexist and homophobic remarks and threats of violence towards teaching staff.

Incidents include a parent informing a teacher on social media that they were “rubbish” and that she was a “bitch” who attempted to kill their daughter by making her do P.E. and not allowing her to use her inhaler – an accusation that the teacher vehemently denied.

Another member of staff, who was heavily pregnant at the time, received vile comments such as “I hope she gets cancer” and “ugly [expletive] bitch”. She also had an abusive Facebook account established in her name. Other teaching staff described how pictures, which have been taken of them in the classroom, without their knowledge were uploaded and then commented on in a flurry of expletive-laden insults.

Now, some may say, “Well, it’s just kids being mischievous; teachers should have a ‘thick skin’ and be used to this sort of behaviour”. But, in reality, as one teacher experienced, who would put up with being sent sexually explicit abusive messages over a prolonged period of nine months? I would hazard a guess, not many!

But surely, don’t teachers report these instances to their senior management team?

Yes, they do but, as the unions report, in an educational world ruled by league tables and Ofsted ratings, schools and head teachers are reluctant to get involved because they don’t want to annoy parents and risk the reputation of their school.

In a survey conducted by the teaching union, the NASUWT, it reported that 60% of 1500 respondents had suffered abusive comments on social media sites by students and parents in comparison to just 21% in 2014. Worryingly, this rise appeared to be entirely attributable to an increase in the number of parents posting abusive remarks.

As a consequence of this problem, coupled with a myriad of other pressing issues within the teaching profession, research in ‘The Independent’ in early April 2015, reported that around 40% of teachers quit within their first year when the harsh realities of life in the classroom become too much.

The issue of the online abuse of teachers is a very real problem that, if not dealt with urgently, will only get worse and potentially contribute to the growing crisis within the teaching profession, but, if it is to have any chance of success, it will require a cohesive plan and the collaboration of stakeholders from education, Government and the social media industry.

If you would like to share your experience on this topic, please use the comments section below.

Written by Steve Gresty on May 14, 2015 11:12

Online E-safety Training - New Distribution Tools

Pupil TrainingWe are delighted to announce that the e-safety training modules available to E-safety Support Premium Plus members can now be distributed in 3 ways:

1 - Presentation mode
Presentation mode is designed for a teacher or instructor to lead a class or group through the course. They may do this with a small group around a single computer, or with a larger group using a projector, whiteboard or large screen.

2 - Link mode
Link mode is designed to allow multiple candidates to work through the course as individuals. In this mode you generate a link which you can share via your school's email system, email newsletter, internal network or printed newsletter. Each prospective candidate uses the same link and when they follow it the system will ask them to enter their name to create an individual record.

3 - Email distribution mode
Email distribution mode is designed to allow multiple candidates to work through the course as individuals. In this mode the system will send out an email invitation to each of your desired candidates and monitor their progress. In order to use this mode you will need to import the names and email addresses of your contacts into your E-safety Support account.

Record training and monitor responses
The simple to use distribution manager will record all of your training activity via your dashboard. In link mode and distribution mode, you can monitor all the candidates who have completed their course and every candidate can print a certificate of completion.

Unlimited usage
All of the training courses come included in the Premium Plus package with unlimited use - there are no extra per-user costs. This means you can distribute the training to as many staff, parents, governors and pupils as you need and repeat as often as necessary. Further details of the courses currently available can be found on our online e-safety training page.

Full previews available
Full previews of the online e-safety training courses are available to all E-safety Support members, simply login to your dashboard or join free now.

Written by Safeguarding Essentials on February 23, 2015 09:52

Government adds further weight to e-safety

Nicky MorganLast month, the Government made 2 significant announcements that related to e-safety issues. The latest announcement made on Boxing Day reiterated the need for education and parental support in keeping children safe online. Here is a brief summary of the developments.

On 11th December, David Cameron announced measures that aim to protect young people from online predators. Speaking at the We Protect Children Online summit, he presented 3 strategies to help at-risk children including; blocking internet search terms; identifying illegal images and; global child protection and laws.

Further information about this story can be found in our e-safety blog

On 26th December, Nicky Morgan announced further moves to help protect children, by reaching out to parents, encouraging them to use the new whole home parental controls - introduced by the government - as well as online resources such as ParentPort and Internet Matters to help keep their children safe online. In her speech she is quoted as saying:

"From my conversations with parents I know how worried parents are about keeping their children safe online."

"This isn’t just about what they may be exposed to but ensuring that parents’ pockets are also not hit by the unauthorised purchasing of apps and games - something very easily done."

"But this isn’t just a problem for parents, schools have a role to play too, which is why we have put online safety at the heart of the curriculum and I am delighted to announce extra funding to ensure children are given the information and tools they need to protect themselves online."

To support this, the additional funding of £500,000 will be given to the Safer Internet Centre, to ensure schools and teachers are also equipped to teach our young people about how to be safe online. The money will provide advice for schools, alongside:

  • regional events
  • new multimedia resources for schools
  • funding to enable a vital helpline for reporting online criminal content to continue
  • a series of online safety events for teachers across the country

    Further details of the announcement can be viewed on the GOV.UK website.

    With e-safety now also part of the curriculum, it is clear that the Government see this as an essential part of the education agenda.

    If you would like to add your thoughts to this announcement, please use the comments section below.

  • Written by Safeguarding Essentials on January 08, 2015 13:16

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