TEACHERS FACING BURNOUT FROM ONLINE HARASSMENT AND ABUSE
The mental health of school teachers is under increasing strain because of online harassment and abusive videos posted by pupils on social media, according to the UK Safer Internet Centre (UK SIC).
A helpline run by UK SIC has dealt with over 800 individual cases in the past year, of which almost half were issues raised by teachers concerning bullying and harassment or reputational concerns because of content posted online.
The UK SIC warns that teachers may be at risk of burnout if they do not get the necessary mental health support to deal with the psychological effects of these online harms.
The report comes amid news that teachers in Northern Ireland have been targeted by fake TikTok accounts which purported to offer reviews of teachers by pupils. A number of teachers have taken sick leave because of the videos, according to Teachers’ union NASUWT.
“You’re thinking when you go in that kids are laughing at you and everyone’s seen it,” one teacher, Mr Rogers, told the BBC after pupils posted videos featuring him on social media.
I think it’s pushing some over the edge because of everything we’ve been through in the last two years.”
FACEBOOK ALLOWS CHILD ABUSE IMAGES TO GO UNDETECTED
As many as half a million images of child abuse have gone undetected on Facebook, according to estimates from the NSPCC.
Facebook switched off its child abuse detection software in December last year over concerns it was in breach of new EU rules on online privacy. The EU has since clarified that its privacy laws would not rule out use of the scanning software, but Facebook is yet to turn the software back on.
A spokesperson for Facebook’s parent company, Meta, told the Telegraph it had “no tolerance for child exploitation on our platforms and continues to invest in industry-leading tools to protect children online.”
The news comes as the Internet Watch Foundation reported that 15 times more Child sexual abuse material (CSAM) has been found compared with 10 years ago.
IWF analysts who work to help remove CSAM from websites online say the number of such websites they have identified has grown by 1,420% since 2011. The charity took down a record 153,350 sites in 2020 for containing CSAM.
“Our analysts, every day, are holding back a tidal wave of criminal material, preventing it from spreading even further online, and stopping criminals from sharing the horrendous abuse of innocent children,” said IWF Chief Executive, Susie Hargreaves OBE. ‘We need to see real action now to halt this rise.”
MILLIONS HIT BY MESSAGE-BASED SCAMMING
As many as 59% of people in the UK say they have received a message-based scam in the past year, according to research commissioned by WhatsApp.
Almost half of the messages received have been via text message, whilst a further 13% were sent over WhatsApp, according to the research.
The survey was commissioned as part of a campaign to stamp out message-based scams, organised in partnership with the National Trading Standards’ Friends Against Scams campaign.
As part of the campaign, WhatsApp have appointed a “scambassador,” Joel Dommett, responsible for helping raise awareness over how to identify different types of scams and avoid falling victim to them.
“We are seeing an increasing number of reports of ‘Friend in need’ scams in recent months,” said Louise Baxter, Head of the National Trading Standards Scams Team and Friends Against Scams. These kinds of scams are particularly cruel as they prey on our kindness and desire to help friends and family.”
The survey comes as research by the security firm Barracuda found that 91% of so-called “baiting” attacks target Gmail users.
The baiting attacks are a specific kind of phishing attack in which scammers seek to obtain personal information about a person or organisation in order to collect together this information for a targeted attack in the future.
35% of the organisations surveyed by Barracuda had been targeted by a baiting attack in the month of September alone.
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