When Online Teachers See Child Abuse

Rick Zeman (Slashdot reader #15,628) shares “a thought-provoking article on when online English teachers see child abuse at the other end of their cameras.”

Of the 24 online teachers interviewed, about two thirds told “harrowing” stories, EdSurge reports, and within the teachers’ Facebook groups new reports “surface nearly every week.”

The teachers post in these private Facebook groups because they aren’t sure how to process, much less report, what they saw. They ask one another the same few questions in many different ways: Has this ever happened to you? Is what I’m feeling normal? How should I respond? Will the company do something about it?

One company employs 70,000 online teachers who reach more than 600,000 children in China — yet one of its teachers complains that the company offered her no guidance for these situations.

After saying they “take these matters very seriously” (with a procedure in place for these “very rare” instances), that company declined repeated requests for further interviews “and would not elaborate on its procedure for referring reports of abuse to local agencies.” (Even though in China, as in the U.S., the described behavior is illegal.) One China-born anthropologist says that many parents may not even be aware of a 2015 law which banned domestic abuse against children.

Last month another company advised its teachers that those who do report incidents will not receive any follow-up from the company, for reasons of “student confidentiality” — though “We assure you that our teams will address any concerns in a prudent manner.”

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