Topic 4: “Kids. . .leave us teachers alone”

‘ETHICS’: is about people and their relationships with one another.

‘SOCIAL MEDIA’: is about conversations, community, connecting with the audience, and building relationships.

‘EDUCATION’: is about forming a relationship between an educator and learner, to foster learning and development.

The traditional school environment is no longer existent, “Our world has now entered into a new era. . . connected and brought together by social media” and school interactions between students and teachers are occurring 24/7, online and offline.

This has also contaminated our relationships [socially and professionally] which have resulted in prevalent rates of Cyberbullying.

So, my question to you,  Is it ethical for schools to prevent freedom of speech among students and teachers in their social media use?

What is Cyberbullying?

Just this week saw our annual ‘Anti-Bullying Week 2014‘ and recurring new’s articles concerning cyberbullying.

Even though schools have gone to great lengths to protect students from bullies, on and offline, individuals rights to freedom of speech cannot be fully controlled. This has instead created a new ‘online playground’ for cyberbullies to manifest, masked and anonymous, because of students and teachers loosening of relationships online.


                                                                                          (The Guardian, 2014)

independent cyberbullying

                                                                                 (The Independent, 2014)

Why has this occurred?

As Topic 3 highlighted, the nature and use of social media in our professional and social contexts is now becoming more and more blurred, students and teachers are experiencing an ‘Online Disinhibition Effect’ (Suler, 2004):

[Loosening/Abandonment of social restrictions and inhibitions, that would be present in normal face-to-face conversations, because the boundaries between the professional school environment and the social home environment have disappeared].

Why teachers?

1. I believe it’s because of the discrepancies between schools’ policies on social media use.

While my secondary school, banned teachers from having friends/networks with current pupils, others schools have completely banned teachers from having accounts, while others have allowed teachers to be ‘Facebook friends’ with staff and students.

2. Examining White’s (2012), ‘Digital Visitor/Resident’ continuum from Topic 1, perhaps the problem lies in the fact that many teachers “lack of technological sophistication compared to their pupils” (TeachingTimes, 2008)

What can be done?

1. Provide an ‘acceptable use’ policy for teachers, students and parents on using social media

2. Set up ‘School Facebook Accounts’ (if necessary) rather than using your personal account

3. Cyberbulling Education

Even so, as an Education student, it is apparent that cyberbullying is rather an ethical issue that concerns all within a school and it’s important not to overlook students. Check out my infographic below:

Cyberbullying UOSM 2033

[Words: 400]


1. My Infographic – [piktochart]

2. My Blog – Topic 1

3. My Blog – Topic 2

4. Antibullyingweek, 2014

5. EndToCyberbullying, 2013 -’End Cyberbullying 2014′. [Online]. Available at: (Accessed: 19 November 2014)

6. The Guardian. 2014 – ‘One in five teachers abused online by parents and pupils, survey says’. [Online]. Available at: (Accessed: 19 November 2014)

7. The Guardian. 2014 – ‘Should schools do more to protect teachers from cyberbulling?’. [Online]. Available at: (Accessed: 20 November 2014)

8. The Independent. 2014 – ‘Anti-Bullying Week: Teachers warned not to befriend pupils on Facebook, as they risk being victims of cyber-bullying too’. [Online]. Available at:–as-they-risk-being-victims-of-cyberbullying-too-9864008.html (Accessed: 20 November 2014)

9. Tall Blog. 2011. ‘Not ‘Natives’ & ‘Immigrants’ but ‘Visitors’ & ‘Residents’. [Online]. Available at: (Accessed: 20 November 2014)

10. TeachingTimes. 2008. ‘Cyber Bullying Of Teachers – A Growing Problem For Schools?’ [Online]. Available at: (Accessed: 20 November 2014)

11. Suler, J. (2004).  ‘The online disinhibition effect’. [Online]. Available at: (Accessed: 20 November 2014)

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