Cyberbullying Prompts Call for Safer Social Networking

Published: October 21, 2010

Cyberbulling via Facebook leads to teachers’ call for legal clampdown on uncontrolled social networks.
Scottish teachers have requested that the law be changed to make mainstream social networking sites more accountable for abusive and intimidating comments posted online by school children.
Scotland’s biggest teaching union claims it receives between 50 and 60 complaints a year from teachers who have been cyberbullied, harassed and threatened online by their students. It argues that new laws are needed to bring websites more into line with newspapers and broadcasters which are subject to defamation and libel legislation.

The union claims that social networking sites such as Facebook “have published derogatory material and in some cases it does a lot of emotional damage”.
“We need a change in the law to make liability rest with the site holders,” he said.
Schoolteachers have discovered abusive comments from their pupils on the web, often threatening physical violence. Some of the perpetrators have been charged with offences of breach of the peace and teachers have been left with anxiety attacks.
What do you think? Is it time for schools to re-educate social media users with alternative, controlled social networks for schools that redefine and reinforce the boundaries of acceptable and safe internet usage?