Cyberbullying

Did you know 60% of Canadian youth have witnessed some form of cyberbullying in the last month, and one million youth experience it first-hand?

What is cyberbullying?

Cyberbullying is the use of digital communication technology to repeatedly intimidate or harass others. It includes:

  • sending mean or threatening emails or text/instant messages
  • posting embarrassing photos of someone online
  • creating a website to make fun of others
  • pretending to be someone by using their name
  • tricking someone into revealing personal or embarrassing information and sending it to others

There are many forms, including harassment, impersonation, outing, cyberstalking, and denigration, but all exist – at least in part – in the digital world. Cyberbullying can often feel even more overwhelming than traditional bullying, because access to a target is 24/7. (Pink Shirt Day, 2021)

Cyberbullying can be a traumatic experience. It can lead to low self-esteem, depression, social anxiety and social isolation. Victims can have stress related health problems. It can also result in problems at school, absenteeism, aggressive behaviours and risk for suicide.

Cyber Safety Strategies

Pink Shirt Day offers the following strategies for online and mobile safety:

  1. Use an online nickname that doesn’t provide clues to your real identity.
  2. Don’t open emails from strangers.
  3. Don’t accept friend invites from strangers.
  4. Don’t share your personal information with anyone you don’t know. That includes name, family members’ names, school, friends’ names, age, address, phone number, credit card or social insurance number.
  5. Change your passwords regularly. And don’t share them, even with friends.
  6. Remember to log out of social networking sites when you leave a computer.
  7. If someone you meet online asks to meet in person, tell a parent, teacher or other trusted adult.
  8. Never post or forward naked photos of yourself or anyone else.
  9. Always use the privacy features on social media sites.
  10. Don’t share cell phone numbers or email addresses with people you don’t know.

In case of cyberbullying…

NeedHelpNow.ca helps teens stop the spread of sexual pictures or videos and provides support.

Helpful resources

Become an Online Hero is a new interactive digital safety quiz created by LEGO. Featuring LEGO figures, it is designed to help younger children explore digital empathy and recognize and stand up to cyberbullying.

Cybertip!ca is Canada’s tipline to report the online sexual exploitation of children. It offers information on internet safety.

The BC erase strategy for building safe and caring school communities hosts erase cyberbullying | embrace compassion with various resources on online safety.

MediaSmarts has a Cyberbullying section on its website with resources for parents and for teachers and a more detailed exploration of cyberbullying. It includes strategies for fighting cyberbullying at home and at school, information on the role of witnesses, and cyberbullying posters that are free to print and use.

Parenting in a Digital Age: Understanding Kids and Technology is a website on cyberbullying for parents. It contains information on how to support children in their use of technology for their first steps to tweens becoming social online to teen online relationships.

ProtectKidsOnline.ca is designed to help parents/guardians protect their children on the Internet and reduce their risk of victimization.

TELUS Wise houses a number of helpful resources on cyberbullying.

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