Opinion Former Article

Reclaim the internet conference

The NASUWT, the largest teachers union in the UK has taken part in the Reclaim The Internet Conference.

The NASUWT is a sponsor of the conference, run in partnership with the Fawcett Society and supported by Twitter and Facebook

NASUWT General Secretary Chris Keates is speaking at the conference in London, which has brought together politicians, police, and leading experts in the fields of technology, the media, campaigning organisations and charities.

Addressing the conference Ms Keates will say:

“Developments in technology and access to the internet have transformed the learning experiences of pupils and have in many ways made significant improvements to the working lives of teachers and school leaders.

“Technology and the internet are not the problem - it’s the potential for abuse and misuse to which they are vulnerable which is at the heart of the Reclaim the Internet campaign

“The NASUWT’s casework and annual research demonstrates that over 50% of teachers have had comments or information posted about them online related to their role as a teacher.

“Racist, sexist and homophobic comments are common. Insulting and personal remarks about physical appearance are particularly prevalent, usually directed at women teachers.

“Whilst many of the comments are posted by pupils, increasingly teachers face abusive postings by parents, mostly about their professional competence, but there have also been threats of physical violence and false allegations of inappropriate conduct with pupils or with staff colleagues.

“For many teachers the deeply offensive and personal nature of the comments, sometimes also attacking their family, adversely affects their physical and mental health and well-being. Many teachers report losing their confidence to face their classes and some are unable to continue working.

“The NASUWT believes that there is a shared responsibility between Government, employers, organisations and individuals themselves to take all appropriate action to ensure that there are effective protections in place so that the benefits of technology are not outweighed by its abuse and misuse.”

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