Children as young as seven are engaged in sexting at school, and most teachers know about the extent of social media abuse among pupils, says a report by a Britain-based teachers’ union.
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"Over half of teachers said they were aware of pupils using social media to send insulting or bullying messages of a sexist nature to other students,” said the report released by National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers (NASUWT) on Friday.
A quarter of teachers knew of pupils involved in sexting who were just 11 years old, but the youngest child reported was just seven, the results of the survey showed.
However, the majority of pupils involved in such incidents were aged 13 to 16.
Over 1,300 teachers responded to the union's survey on social media abuse which also found that half of teachers have had adverse comments posted about them on social media sites by pupils and parents.
"Over the three years the NASUWT has been running this survey the situation has deteriorated,” said Chris Keates, general secretary of the NASUWT. Online abuse is traumatic and potentially life changing. Victims need strong support through a zero tolerance approach,” Keates noted.
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Particularly concerning is the increase in online abuse of teachers by parents with over half reporting receiving online abuse from parents in the last year, compared to 40 percent in 2015. The number of teachers reporting online abuse from parents has increased each year since the NASUWT first started the survey in 2014, the report said.