Last week we talked about “Attack a Teacher Day” that got six middle schoolers arrested. Now the latest cyberbullying news shows that parents in Britain are using Facebook to criticize and complain about their kids’ teachers. By targeting teachers online through parents’ own Facebook profiles and other social networking pages, some parents are engaging in cyberbullying that is even receiving attention from the National Association of Headteachers (NAHT). The NAHT is now giving more guidance to teachers getting bullied online, including helping them to manage their own personal online accounts.
With parents using Facebook and other social networking sites to criticize teachers and vent frustrations about school administrations, two serious problems arise. The first is that, while parents should have their voices heard in schools, people don’t hold as much back online and this could result in rumors spreading, parents getting unfairly worked up about issues, and people spurring unnecessary campaigns against schools.
The other problem is that these parents could be setting bad examples for their kids. Our Safety Resolutions for the New Year include “Resolve to be courteous and polite online.” By taking out frustrations over the Internet, which is a more impersonal setting than addressing schools, teachers, or anyone else directly, parents could say things they don’t necessarily mean actually making matters worse. More importantly, our kids are the ones who we want to set a good example for and by being considerate online, they will also be less likely to use social networking sites as an outlet for bullying.
What’s your reaction to parents getting involved in this kind of cyberbullying?