Pupils increasingly playing social media tricks to humiliate teachers

Staff should protect themselves online
Staff should protect themselves online

Teachers are being humiliated by social media tricks played by pupils, it has been reported.

In one case, an embarrassing photo of a teacher who was stood up for a restaurant date, taken by a pupil who set her up in a manipulative scam, was shared across a school.

In another, a number of school workers saw photos splashed across the internet after a student set up a fake online account posing as a colleague.

Increasing numbers of school staff are being targeted by such scams, the Times Educational Supplement (TES) reported.

Emma Robertson, co-founder of Digital Awareness UK, told the magazine it has seen a trend of online abuse and security violations of teachers, with the number of inquiries about the issue spiking in the last year.

The organisation, which runs workshops on internet safety, is increasingly hearing from schools who want them to show staff how to protect themselves online, she said.

Around 30% of the cases it comes across are about teachers who have been victimised, rather than pupil-on-pupil abuse, Ms Robertson said.

She told the TES: "In the cases that have almost gone viral in the school, which everybody knows about, a lot of the time teachers will just be really upset and will come to us for one-to-one advice."

One teacher thought she had been stood up by a man she had been talking to on a dating website, but she then found a pupil had photographed her waiting for her date and shared the image, the TES reported.

The student had set up a fake social media account, linked to the site, and struck up a conversation with the teacher before arranging to meet.

At one school, a pupil created a fake Facebook account posing as a teacher who did not use the site. They sent out friend requests to the teacher's colleagues, who unknowingly gave the youngster access to their profiles.

The student then trawled through to find compromising photos at events such as university parties, printed them off and posted them around the school.

In a third case, a teacher was filmed by students bending over in a classroom and the footage uploaded to YouTube. Derogatory comments about her appearance were posted alongside.

An NASUWT teaching union poll of more than 1,500 members, published earlier this year, found nearly a third of teachers had suffered online harassment and victimisation in the last year.

In the majority of cases, pupils were the culprits.