Overall, 21.73% of all Czech teachers have been victims of cyber bullying. This was confirmed by the National Cyberbullying Research on Czech Teachers, where more than 5100 primary and secondary school teachers from all regions of the Czech Republic took part. Cyber attacks on teachers usually take place on social networks. Other “attacking” means include cell phones, email, chats, and public websites. The research was carried out by the Palacký University Centre for the Prevention of Risky Virtual Communication at the Faculty of Education, in collaboration with O2 Czech Republic and Seznam.cz.
The aim of the research was to track how much cyberbullying of teachers in the Czech Republic has expanded, which forms of attacks on teachers predominate, how long they last, and what impact they have on teachers. Experts from the Faculty of Education also asked how teachers deal with this crisis and who the offenders are.
“In total, 21.73% of Czech teachers have been the victims of cyber attacks . The most common forms of incidents included attacks made via a mobile phone or the Internethttp://www.veda.upol.cz/en/news-article/clanek/cyber-aggression-touches-every-fifth-teacher-and-school-management-is-mostly-unaware-of-the-problem/typo3/#_msocom_2 and harassment via ringing off. The research also noted threats against teachers, intimidation, and spreading degrading or humiliating pictures,” said lead researcher Kamil Kopecký.
Cyberbullying as a serious form of cyber aggression has been experienced by 181 teachers out of 5136 respondents
The research shows that short-term attacks that took place during one week prevail (456 incidents out of 1062 lasted for a week and did not continue), whereas long-term attacks are exceptional.
“Not every cyber incident that teachers experienced can be considered to be cyberbullying – which is defined as occurring repeatedly, over a long time, is intense and has a demonstrable impact on the victim. Based on the research, we determined that true cyberbullying in the last 12 months was experienced by 3.52% of teachers, 181 out of 5136 respondents,” Kopecký said.
Offenders: not only students but also parents and colleagues
Who are the most frequent offenders of cyberbullying? In almost 40% of cases the offenders were school pupils (34.92% were pupils known and taught by the victim). There is also a considerable percentage of situations where parents of the student become the aggressors; about 8% of the cases. It is alarming that in a quarter of the cases, it was impossible to reveal the identities of the offenders – therefore they went punished (24.42%). “Children are often more receptive to digital technology than their parents or teachers. Unfortunately, they fail to realize all of the risks and consequences of their behaviour,” stated Ctirad Lolek, Human Resources Director, O2 Czech Republic.
The research also tried to find out who knew about cyber attacks or cyber bullying on teachers. In 31.9% cases, the teachers’ colleagues (teachers, educators) knew about the attack, according to the victims. In contrast, the school management was informed in only 15% of the cases.
How do teachers react?
The research shows that most teachers usually use strategies aimed at direct removal or blocking objectionable content from the Internet – these make up more than a fifth of all strategies that are used for attack. Almost 10% of respondents make records on the incident – e.g. communication screenshots, SMS, etc. About 8% of the teachers tried to track down the offender of the attack, while 8.25% of the teachers decided to ignore the situation – either they did not consider it serious, or they assumed that the problem would disappear.
Martin Kožíšek, the Internet security manager of Seznam.cz company, added: “It has been revealed that the current cases associated with wide media coverage are often simplified to attract the attention of public and media. That is why we want the result to show the reality and to describe the issue as closely as possible. Clear specification of the problem enables us to better understand it and ultimately address it more effectively. Because we run services that may relate to this issue, this research provides us with valuable input to create operational measures to protect our users.”