A cyber communication expert says news stories of teachers and students having inappropriate or sexual communication through technology is creating a climate of concern. Justin Patchin of the Cyberbullying Research Center, says most teachers avoid interacting with students through technology, out of fears of how they may perceived or “potential problems” that may occur.
However technology can offer a number of positive learning benefits between teachers and students. “We shouldn’t throw the baby out with the bathwater here,” says the Eau Claire based professor.
In strictly predatory cases, he says there is often a pattern of “grooming,” where the communication escalates to eventual sexual contact.
Patchin says both educators and young people need more training on how to recognize signs of communication going down the wrong path, and how to properly report the activity.