The OECD think tank reported the experiences of more than 250,000 teachers in 48 industrialised countries and regions. The results have shown there appear to be particular problems with cyber-bullying in English schools (schools in Scotland, Ireland and Wales were not part of the survey). The study, carried out every five years, looked at the working lives of teachers around the world. It indicated an increase in bullying in English schools - driven by online bullying and harassment and problems caused by social media.Of England heads surveyed:
• 14% faced problems each week caused by “hurtful” material posted about pupils, compared with an international average of 2%, with the United States having the next highest proportion – 10%
• 27% faced problems each week caused by pupils receiving “unwanted contact” online – in the form of cyber-bullying, compared with an international average of 3%, with Australia having the next highest proportion – 16%
In France, mobile phones have been banned from school. Andreas Schleicher, the OECD’s education director, has called for more regulation of social media to alleviate the current situation where individual heads are left to try and cope. The OECD education expert urges education systems to find a way of dealing with the impact of social media and internet use on young people. He specifically warned of a lack of regulation in England, which left schools having to find their own response. Of course, apart from the emotional harm of bullying the misuse of social media was hindering learning and needed to be addressed at a wider level.