Children as young as seven are posting abusive and damaging comments about their teachers on social networking websites such as Facebook and Twitter, according to new research. Even worse, some of the children's parents are adding their comments to what constitutes a serious escalation in the cyber-bullying of educators. The British teaching union NASUWT conducted a survey of more than 7,500 teachers. It found that almost half of teachers had reported abuse to the school, police or the website on which the insults were posted. Other figures show that more than 20 per cent of teachers felt they had been cyber-bullied in the past year. Three per cent of the comments were from under-elevens.
The survey revealed that 64% of the comments were made by pupils, 27% by parents, and the rest a mix of both. Many of the comments related to teachers' appearance, competence, and sexuality. Chris Keates, NASUWT general secretary, said: "It is clear that steps need to be taken to protect teachers from the abuse of social media by pupils and parents." She added: "Teachers are often devastated by the vile nature of the abuse they are suffering. Some have lost their confidence to teach once they see foul and personal remarks made by pupils in their classes and have left the profession." Many teachers are afraid to report the abuse.They think it would lead to more trouble.