Cyberbullying and social networks
The EIS recognises the importance and value of social networks and the Annual General meeting in 2007 agreed a policy on Social Networking.
This policy advised teachers of difficulties in communicating on social network sites with pupils or students and advised that any e-mail communication on homework or curricular matters should be through local authority/college e-mail addresses and not private addresses. Nevertheless the EIS recognises that internet communication offers many benefits, including benefits to teaching and lecturing.
However, the EIS recognises that electronic communication brings dangers as well as opportunities. There has been a significant growth in cases where teachers and lecturers have been subject to intimidating or threatening behaviour, gratuitous attacks on their professional standing and unacceptable innuendo regarding their private lives.
The EIS will support members who are subject to abuse and cyberbullying. We welcome proposed changes in the Criminal Justice Bill which will make it easier for the Police to bring charges against perpetrators.
There is also a need to consider action against unedited sites. While we have issues with edited sites, particularly Rate my teacher and certain blogs, such sites are responsible in law for material posted on them.
Unedited sites like Bebo, You Tube and Facebook have no editorial liability and become liable if they refuse to remove postings.