Goading, filming of teachers ‘particularly nasty’

Otago Daily Times 18 Nov 2011
School pupils are deliberately goading their teachers to breaking point and then posting film of the resulting meltdowns online. More than one in 10 New Zealand teachers have been or know a victim of “cyberbaiting”, says the Online Family Report published by internet security company Norton. Secondary Principals’ Association president Patrick Walsh said it was extremely worrying and frustrating for teachers who became victims. “It’s not a major problem … but when it does happen, it’s particularly nasty and insidious, and particularly damaging to the teacher’s reputation and wellbeing.”

The survey also found 25% of New Zealand teachers were friends with pupils on social networks. But 85% of all teachers believed such friendships exposed them to risks. Mr Walsh said he was about to put out a president’s comment to principals next week on the issue.

The disciplinary tribunal of the Teachers’ Council, of which Mr Walsh is a member, had noticed inappropriate teacher-pupil relationships often started through text-message or Facebook contact. “It leads to a breakdown in the professional relationship between students and teachers. So unless it’s for professional reasons, we would caution against that.” Mr Lyon said many teachers used social media to bolster pupils’ learning, but it could be safest to create a distinct profile to do so. The Norton report was compiled after more than 19,000 adults, children aged between 8 and 17, and teachers in 24 countries filled out online surveys in February and March.