Monthly Archives: August 2011

One Third Of Teachers Have Been Bullied Online By Students And/Or Parents

A third of teachers have said they have been subjected to online bullying – including by parents who see them as ‘fair game’.

 
Student harassment of teachers is growing
 

Facebook and Twitter have been used to intimidate teachers over bad grades or simply because they are not liked.

More than a quarter of those that admit they have been targeted say the abuse has come from parents with one headteacher was driven to the brink of suicide by a year-long online hate campaign.

One parent even set up a ‘Google group’ and asked others to join in their abuse.

Andy Phippen, professor of social responsibility in IT at Plymouth Business School who researched the matter, said: ‘You expect a little bit of abuse from children. But when parents launch 12-month campaigns of abuse you have to think “something has gone wrong here”.

‘Parents are saying “You gave my child a bad grade, I’m going to give you a slating on Facebook” – it is something that is growing and growing.’

On top of the abuse from pupils and parents, one in 10 said they had been a victim of another teacher’s cyber-bullying.

The report said: ‘It seems to a subset of the population the teacher is no longer viewed as someone who should be supported in developing their child’s education, but a person whom it is acceptable to abuse if they dislike what is happening in the classroom.’

One headteacher told the team: ‘A parent set up a Google group and devoted it to saying unpleasant things about me. It started off as “the Head” and then he started referring to me just by my surname. He invited other parents to join in but only one did.

‘I eventually had a mini breakdown in the summer holiday needing an emergency doctor to be called out – as I had become suicidal – a fact that none of my staff know as I was much better by the start of the term – greatly helped by him removing his children from school.’

The survey was carried out by academics working for the UK Safer Internet Centre and it found that the most common type of abuse was through Facebook groups that targeted specific teachers.

There was also evidence of pupils creating fake Facebook pages in a teacher’s name, posting videos of teachers in class on YouTube, and setting up whole websites to be abusive about a single or group of staff.

RateMyTeacher.com was also mentioned a number of times as a site where abusive comments had been posted. In some cases where teachers had complained, the comments still remained.

‘While some defenders of free speech have argued that such sites have a right to exist, we would question the role of a site where pupils can freely post slanderous and abusive material about a member of the teaching profession and threats of violence toward them,’ the team wrote.

Prof Phippen said it was important more training is provided to senior managers and others to help combat the rise of online bullying.

A Facebook spokesman said: ‘At Facebook we have worked hard to develop reporting mechanisms that enable people to report offensive content they are concerned about.

‘Having the tools to report content in this way gives people more control over what is said about them on Facebook than over the wider web where few such controls exist.’

Abusive Relationship Simulated By iPhone App

Ever wonder what it’s like to be digitally harassed by a teenager? Now you, too, can receive inappropriate text messages, emails and phone calls. Yay?

Charming fellow isn't he?

 “Love is not abuse” is an iPhone app that simulates teenage relationship cruelty and mistreatment.

Once the app is launched a public service message appears featuring Project Runway’s Tim Gunn and Judge Jeanine Pirro. Then a series of lessons appear and you can run simulations of abuse. Immediately your cell phone will start ringing, a series of bizarre text messages will pop up and you’ll recieve emails. Keep in mind, you have to enter your phone number and email address to get the full effect.

Anyone feel like the app creator just found a brilliant way to collect our phone numbers and email addresses? Here’s a tip: use a junk email address and a Google phone number, if you have one.

Exactly what’s the purpose of all this? 
App creator Liz Claiborne Inc. hopes that showing symptoms of abuse will help parents spot if their kids are being victimized.

According to the organization’s website, “A common characteristic of unhealthy and abusive relationships is the control that the abusive partner seeks to maintain in the relationship. This includes telling someone what to wear, where they can go, who they can hang out with, calling them names, humiliating them in front of others.”

One Third Of Americans Would Choose iPhone Over Sex

A national survey found that a third of Americans would rather give up sex than their smartphones, as mobile devices become even more rooted into people’s lives.

You're doing it wrong

The survey by Telenav found people are more likely to give up a variety of habits instead of their smartphones. More than 50 percent of people would rather give up caffeine, chocolate or exercise than part with their iPhones or Blackberrys for a week, while a hygienically questionable 22 percent would be willing to part with their toothbrushes.

Telenav’s survey dovetails with psychologists’ recent findings that more people that would rather fiddle with their smartphones than interact with other human beings. An increasing number of people sleep with their phones and check them incessantly, fearing that they will miss something unless they stay plugged-in.

According to another study by OkCupid, overly-active Twitter users have shorter relationships than those who use the service sparingly or not at all. Maintaining a sturdy Twitter following requires people to update status messages all the time, making heavy users feel the need to constantly pull out their cell phones and read their latest tweets. The habit disconnects them from the world around them, including their loved ones.

Telenav’s study went one step further and broke down its findings specifically by the types of smartphone that people used. Just 10 percent of iPhone users admitted to ending a relationship via text message, voicemail, Facebook or Twitter, as opposed to 18 percent of Android users and 15 percent of BlackBerry users.

Perhaps iPhone owners are luckier in love because they try to date their own kind. More than 80 percent of iPhone users said they think other iPhone owners would make the best romantic partners.

The survey didn’t specify whether these iPhone users think it’s the ability to Facetime, sync their music libraries or just geek out over Apple products that assures them a lifetime of happiness.

Prison Inmates Lose Facebook Accounts

Please don't tell me facebook access will become a "human rights" issue.

Facebook has agreed to disable the profiles of prison inmates in California whose accounts have been updated while they are behind bars.

“Access to social media allows inmates to circumvent our monitoring process and continue to engage in criminal activity,” California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation secretary Matthew Cate said in a statement Monday.

“This new cooperation between law enforcement and Facebook will help protect the community and potentially avoid future victims.”

CDCR said prison inmates are allowed to have Facebook profiles created prior to their incarceration but “if any evidence shows the account has been used while in the facility, Facebook Security will disable the account.”

Facebook accounts set up or updated on behalf of an inmate will be reported to the Facebook Security Department and removed as a violation of the social network’s user policies.

CDCR said there have been “numerous instances in which inmates, using their Facebook accounts, have delivered threats to victims or have made unwanted sexual advances.”

Inmates are maintaining their accounts using smuggled cellphones or having someone on the outside do it for them, according to CDCR.

It pointed to a “massive influx” in the number of cellphones being used by prisoners. Some 7,284 cellphones were confiscated in the first six months of this year, up from 261 devices in 2006.

Smartphone Addiction in Britian

Many Britons are welded to their smartphones 24 hours a day and refuse to turn them off in cinemas and theatres, according to a study Thursday showing how the devices are changing social behaviour.

Tap tap tap tap...(looks up and briefly acknowedges outside world)...tap tap tap tap...

Research for telecommunications watchdog Ofcom showed that more than a third of adults and a majority of teenagers say they are highly addicted to devices such as the iPhone and BlackBerry, often referred to as ‘CrackBerry’ by users for this reason.

Users are more likely than owners of standard mobile phones to never switch them off, and are more inclined to continue sending email or text messages even when at the cinema or the theatre.

They are also more likely to be hunched over their phones during social occasions such as meals with friends, the research showed.

Smartphones also encourage users to make more calls and send more text messages than regular mobile phone owners.

More than a quarter of adults and nearly half of all teenagers in Britain now own a smartphone.

And people who had bought a smartphone reported they had cut back on activities such as reading books and newspapers and watching TV.

A clear sign of their growing influence can be seen in their intrusion into holiday time, with users admitting they were more likely to take calls or consult emails from the office even when away.

James Thickett, director of research for Ofcom, said the insistence on keeping smartphones switched on in cinemas and theatres raised issues of social etiquette and tolerance.

“It raises an issue about social etiquette and modern manners and the degree to which we as a society are tolerant of this behaviour,” he said.

“I think what we have found before is that teenagers have always been more likely to use mobile phones in cinemas and theatres.

“What we are finding now is that for smartphone users, it is much, much higher, but adult smartphone users as well.

“So it is not just about adults and teenagers having different values, it is about technology driving the values towards the way you behave in social situations.”

Video Game Addict Dies From Blood Clot

The family of a budding computer programmer have on Saturday launched a campaign to raise awareness about the health risks of playing online computer games after their son died following a marathon session on his Xbox.

 

Long Gaming Session Blamed for Death of Halo 3 Player

 

A post-mortem revealed that 20-year-old Chris Staniforth — who was offered a place to study Game Design at Leicester University — was killed by a pulmonary embolism, which can occur if someone sits in the same position for several hours.

 

Deep vein thrombosis normally affects passengers on long-haul flights, but medical experts fear youngsters who spend hours glued to their consoles might also be at risk and have urged them to take regular breaks.

 

Professor Brian Colvin — an expert on blood-related conditions — said it was “unhealthy” for youngsters to spend long periods in front of their consoles.

 

“There’s anxiety about obesity and children not doing anything other than looking at computer screens,” he told The Sun.

 

David Staniforth has now launched a campaign to warn other parents of the dangers.

 

“Games are fun and once you’ve started playing it’s hard to stop.

 

“Kids all over the country are playing these games for long periods – they don’t realise it could kill them,” he told The Sun.

 

A coroner’s court in Sheffield was told how the youngster — who had no underlying medical conditions — was complaining of a low heart rate before collapsing outside a Jobcentre.

 

Staniforth’s distraught father said his son would spend up to 12 hours playing on his Xbox.

 

“He got sucked in playing Halo online against people from all over the world.”

 

Online computer games are extremely popular as thousands interact in shared science fiction worlds.

 

Reports of gamers collapsing after spending 15 hours in front of video games are fairly common throughout Asia.

 

In 2005, a South Korean gamer died after playing online games for three days without taking a break.

 

Microsoft — which manufactures the Xbox — said it “recommend gamers take breaks to exercise as well as make time for other pursuits.”

 

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