The NASUWT, the largest teachers’ union in the UK, is joining organisations across the world to mark Safer Internet Day today (Tuesday, 9th February).
This year’s theme is ‘play your part for a better internet’ and provides an opportunity to explore the responsibility we all have to help create a kinder online community.
The NASUWT has led the way in supporting and protecting teachers from the alarming rise in cyberbullying incidents by providing them with ongoing guidance and training about how to protect themselves in the workplace and conducting extensive research into the issues teachers and pupil experience.
Chris Keates, General Secretary of the NASUWT, said: “Technology has transformed the learning experiences of many children and young people and made significant improvements to the working lives and practices of many teachers. When used appropriately the benefits can be enormous.
“However, the abuse and misuse of technology has blighted too many lives, adversely affecting health, welfare and well-being. As the largest teachers’ union in the UK, the NASUWT has led, for many years, the campaign to protect teachers, school leaders, children and young people from cyberbullying.
“Our advice, support and training have contributed significantly to creating safer workplaces and learning environments. The NASUWT’s annual social media survey, which it has undertaken for the last four years, has uncovered a deeply worrying picture of teachers being targeted by abuse via social media.
“Last year’s survey found a huge rise in the number of teachers being targeted for abuse via social media.Particularly concerning was that the majority of the significant increase in abuse was as a result of an increase in the number of parents abusing teachers online.
“Abusive, sexist, racist, homophobic and highly offensive language is common, accompanied by remarks about teachers’ appearance, competence or sexuality. Teachers also had false allegations and malicious slurs targeted at them.
“There are still too many cases where no appropriate action is taken and teachers are being left devastated, humiliated and traumatised. All schools should commit on Safer Internet Day to a zero-tolerance policy on online abuse and to using all the sanctions available to them to address the abuse of staff.”