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Teachers under stress from cyberbullying

SOCIAL MEDIA is undoubtedly a tremendous tool in the modern world of communications but maybe it’s time something radical was considered to curtail its abuse.
The latest research carried out by DCU’s National Ant-Bullying Research and Resource Centre (ABC)revealed that one in ten teachers in Ireland have been a victim of cyberbulling – and most of it by their own pupils . . . and almost 15% of those who took part in the study were aware of a colleague experiencing cyberbullying in the past year.
One can image how social media can provide a means, or platform for revenge for pupils who are unhappy with how a particular teacher is treating them in class – an option not available to students decades ago. The research surveyed 577 post-primary school teachers on the issue of cyberbullying which is defined as “the creation of digital texts, images and recordings that portray the teacher in ways that are demeaning and/or ridicule the teacher which are then transmitted to others”.
The impact of cyberbullying ranged from increased anxiety and stress levels, negative impacts on their working environment and a reluctance to report the issue and seek help from management.
Liam Challenor, a doctoral researcher at DCU’s National Anti-Bullying Research and Resource Centre, said the study showed that more resources are needed to safeguard the mental health of Irish teachers.
He said: “The findings of this research show that some post-primary teachers in Ireland experience cyberbullying from pupils, parents and other school staff. This victimisation has a significant impact on the well-being of these teachers and on a teacher’s role within a school context. It requires further supports to reduce cyberbullying in schools and to support everyone within the school community.”
One research participant described what it was like to experience the abuse.
The teacher said: “It is very upsetting. It is also very embarrassing to read nasty comments written about you, with no chance to defend yourself and no means of finding out who is responsible.”
“Since it is in writing, it can be viewed again and again. The deliberate and underhand nature is intimidating and it’s hard to prevent further bullying.”