© Guardian photo by Mitch MacDonald
Glen Canning and Leah Parsons, the parents of Rehtaeh Parsons, share their story with Parry Aftab during the International Stop Cyberbullying Youth Summit at the Confederation Centre of the Arts.
Hundreds of youth collaborated with parents, media companies and experts in Charlottetown yesterday to take on the issue of cyberbullying.
The International Stop Cyberbullying Youth Summit saw an interactive day of breakout sessions, students presentations as well as a discussions with experts on what can be done to stop online harassment.
The day also saw a discussion with the parents of Rehtaeh Parsons, a teen whose suicide earlier this year made international headlines.
Glen Canning and Leah Parsons told their and Rehtaeh’s story and listened to other youth who were struggling with bullying.
“I do believe that her (Rehtaeh’s) good friends, her true friends were put in a situation where they didn’t know what to do,” Canning said. “Which is why it’s so important to have summits like this and to have this conversation.”
Parry Aftab, who organized the summit, said the day opened up a number of ideas on what can be done to further prevent bullying and how those who are affected by bullying can be helped.
“A lot of people wanted me to teach them (the kids) about cyberbullying. I don’t need to, they know about cyberbullying,” said Aftab who is also an Internet privacy and security lawyer. “What they don’t know about is what they can do to get help and what they can do to help others and how they can stop it. That’s what we’re going to help them to understand.”
The day also saw representatives from Microsoft, Google and Facebook join the discussion.
“They really do care and a lot of people think they don’t,” said Aftab, who sits on Facebook’s International Safety Advisory Board. “They work on it all the time they just don’t have the answers anymore than we do.
“So what we hope is by working together we’ll start coming up with some of those answers.”