10:59 16 August 2011
More than a third of teachers have been subject to abuse online - or cyberbullying - according to a new survey conducted by Plymouth University.
The majority of the abuse came via pupils, but shockingly over a quarter was initiated by parents.
In some cases, people posted videos of teachers in action on YouTube while others put abusive comments on ratemyteacher.com.
In total, 35% of teachers questioned said they had been the victim of some form of online abuse. Of these, 60% were women.
The National Association of Headteachers (NAHT) has updated its guidelines for teachers to help them deal with cyberbullying and prevent it from happening
It tells them how to contact various websites if they have been targeted and gives tips on how teachers should manager personal accounts.
The NAHT also urges headteachers to have clear rules about social networking sites.
One parent took out her frustrations about one teacher on her Facebook page, until the school warned her that they could take legal action against her if the comments became libellous.
A spokesman for Facebook said:
"These online discussions are simply a reflection of what is happening offline. Facebook has worked hard to develop reporting mechanisms that enable people to report offensive content."
A 24-hour counselling helpline called Teacherline set up in October 1999 for stressed teachers in England and Wales now receives thousands of calls a month.
Teacher Support Network is another organisation which says it has seen a marked increase in calls and emails from teachers who have experienced online abuse.
More than a third of teachers who have reported cyber bullying say it has reduced their confidence and self-esteem.
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