This week, we’ve featured an interview series with Vanessa Rogers, an experienced and highly regarded teacher and youth worker, and author of the recent book, Cyberbullying: Activities to Help Children and Teens to Stay Safe in a Texting, Twittering, Social Networking World.
In today’s final post, Vanessa shares some advice for teachers who have been victims of cyberbullying themselves.
No matter how cautious they are it has been apparent over recent years that one difference between cyber and any other kind of bullying is the opportunities it provides for bullying across generations, including professionals such as teachers and youth workers. A 2007 survey by Teacher Support Network and Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL) demonstrated that malicious use of Internet and mobile phones to bully or harass teachers has a profound effect on their psychological and physical wellbeing, in some cases leading to sickness absence and even resignations.
Professionals can help themselves to avoid meeting pupils in cyberland by keeping to strict professional boundaries, for example refusing friendship requests on Facebook and not letting pupils have their mobile numbers. However, it is out of their control if pupils set up online forums or post inappropriate pictures with teachers heads superimposed on, and this lack of any control over what is happening can add to the very real distress experienced by victims.
If despite taking every precaution any teacher finds him or herself a victim of cyberbullying, the advice is the same as that given to any child – tell someone. On 15 April 2009, the DCSF (Department for Children, Schools and Families) issued guidance, ‘Cyberbullying: Supporting school staff’, which outlines practical ways of preventing and tackling cyberbullying of teachers and other school staff.
Vanessa Rogers is a qualified teacher and youth worker with over ten years’ experience within Hertfordshire Youth Service, UK, both at practitioner and management levels. Prior to becoming a nationally acclaimed youth work consultant, Vanessa managed a wide range of services for young people including a large youth centre and targeted detached projects for Hertfordshire County Council. Vanessa has written a number of popular resource books aimed at those working with young people, and she also has a column in ‘Youth Work Now’, a supplement of the national magazine ‘Children and Young People Now’. Vanessa’s website can be found at www.vanessarogers.co.uk.
Copyright © Jessica Kingsley Publishers 2010.
We hope you’ve enjoyed this week’s series with Vanessa Rogers! Keep checking the JKP blog for more news and information about other youthwork and related topics.