LONDON – More than 60 percent of school staff in Britain are aware of teens aged 13 to 16 sharing sexual material online, and pupils as young as 7 have been caught “sexting,” a study said Friday.
The report from teaching union NASUWT union found that 63 percent of teachers were aware of 14-year-olds sexting, while 45 percent said they knew of 13-year-olds sharing material of a sexual nature.
A small amount of teachers said children aged 7 to 9 were engaged in such behavior, and a quarter of respondents said they were aware of 11-year-olds sexting.
Around half of all teachers said they knew of pupils using social media to send sexist and bullying messages to other students, and a similar number were aware of racist messages.
Half of them had suffered online abuse and negative comments, including false accusations of pedophilia.
Almost a third of teachers reported seeing online photos or videos of themselves taken without consent.
“Over the three years the NASUWT has been running this survey the situation has deteriorate,” said Chris Keates, general secretary of NASUWT.
“Online abuse has a devastating impact on teachers’ and pupils’ lives and yet no serious action is taken by government to ensure that schools are responding appropriately to this abuse.
“The level of abuse that teachers are suffering at the hands of parents online is simply unacceptable.”
Examples of abuse included a fake Twitter account describing the teacher as a wife beater and parents threatening to “knock out” teachers.
The Department for Education stressed that teachers “have a right to feel safe” at work.
“We want to make sure young people are aware of the risks and dangers — including sending inappropriate images,” said the department.
“The law is also crystal clear that where teachers find indecent images of children they must report this to the police.