How Common is Cyberbaiting?

According to Norton Cybercrime Report 2011, 21% of teachers have personally experienced or know another teacher that has experienced cyberbaiting.  Cyberbaiting is not as common as cyberbullying, but it does exist.  Cyberbaiting is a form of cyberbullying of teachers conducted by students.  It’s when students taunt their teachers, capture their reactions on a mobile recorder and threaten to upload the footage to the Internet.  A number of videos of teachers losing their cool can be found online.

I recall a situation just a few years ago where students provoked one of our English teachers and captured her reaction on video only to share it on the Web.  It wasn’t until then that our school established the rule of making all recording devices off limits for students.

It’s only natural that cyberbaiting is getting attention with teachers and students sharing an online relationship.  This online connection, despite its educational purposes, allows teachers to be targets for unruly behavior and revenge by their students.

According to Netsafe Chief Technology Officer Sean Lyons, cyberbaiting is a wake-up call for schools and their use of social media.  The Norton Report  reveals that 34% of teachers are friends with students on social media networking sites; however, 67% of teachers say being friends with students on social networking sites exposes them to risks.   Lyons believes schools can minimize these risks through the development of their own social media.  Such a development would allow schools to reap the benefits of teachers and students connecting outside the classroom while at the same time establishing customized limits and school monitoring.  Foremost, technology usage rules must be specific and in place for both teacher and student.  It is continually of importance that students be aware of right digital usage in the home and school environment with the hopes of it caring over to their daily social lives and their future.

In the video below provided by Breakfast, a New Zealand News Show, Lyons shares some examples of cyberbaiting and speaks of how it can be a fine line for school officials when it comes to making a decision on one’s employment solely on these videos.  Videos do not give all the details building up to the explosive moment and can be taken completely out of context.

The emergence of cyberbaiting is just another of many issues that arise and will continue to arise from the use of social media.  Society must learn to respect their boundaries and responsibilities when using such powerful tools.

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