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SSNS Home > Check This First > Orientation > Cyber Bullying

Cyber Bullying

Canadians are generally perceived outside the country as well-mannered and well-meaning, but like all stereotypes it is at best a half-truth. We are not as "nice" as we would like to be perceived, especially when we think we can get away with it. The CBC did a documentary recently on Canadian road rage that illustrated the unmannerly behaviour of adult Canadian drivers, and a March 2007 incident in Winnipeg adds further evidence of the problem among a group of high school students, who trashed the character and teaching abilities of a substitute teacher in a vicious online attack. Nick Martin reported on the latter incident, 4 April 2007, in The Winnipeg Free Press, and then was subjected to a vicious attack himself by the website that hosted the offending chat room.[1]

Evidently there is a need to inform teachers, students, and parents about the problem of cyber bullying, and how to prevent it. The following guidelines are designed to discourage this antisocial behaviour. For additional information on the topic, check out the links provided.


Guidelines for Teachers:

  1. 123elearning has an excellent site for information concerning online bullying. Click on "Parry Aftab's Cyberbullying: the video part 1" which provides an overview of the problem [created by WiredSafety.org]. It opens at www.youtube.com, which has other video clips on the harmful effects of this practice that also can be downloaded and used to educated students, especially those in junior and senior high. "Sarah's Story about Cyber-Bullying" is a particularly powerful example.

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Guidelines for Students:

  1. Teen Angels is a good site for students. This website is a division of WiredSafety.org.

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Guidelines for Parents:

As parents we have a duty to ensure that our children act responsibly when they communicate online. What you say on the Internet can have an impact on others. Here are a few pointers.

  1. Advise your children to treat others on the Internet in the same way they would like to be treated. No normal person wants foul language and verbal attacks hurled at them; therefore, it follows that they should not communicate with others on the Internet in such a hurtful way.
  2. Monitor your children's Internet behaviour regularly. If they are involved in chat rooms, make sure that the hosting website has appropriate rules of conduct that are visible and enforced.
  3. Point out to your children that legal action can be taken against them, if they make inappropriate comments on the Internet about individuals or groups. Slander and libel are punishable offences.
  4. Inappropriate language and comment directed at others may affect one's education. In April 2007, the Government of Ontario tabled legislation that could result in students being suspended or expelled for what they say online about teachers or other students.
  5. The Internet has a long memory. If your children apply for jobs in the future with companies that do Internet checks to see what they have written there in the past, they can lose out. Indulging in a diatribe now can cost a person a future job opportunity.

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Links for Further Information:

  1. WiredSafety.org has plenty of suggestions for responding to cyber abuse. See "Cyberbullying, Cyberstalking and Harassment - Getting help and staying safe!"

[1]For more information on Nick Martin's experience, see his weblog on the Winnipeg Free Press website. (Click on the footnote number to return to the text.)

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Last updated : 17 July 2007

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