Issue of cyberbullying discussed at Charlottetown summit

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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.”

Organizations: International Stop Cyberbullying Youth Summit, Microsoft, Google International Safety Advisory Board

Geographic location: Charlottetown

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Recent comments

  • Guy Cousineau
    November 11, 2013 - 08:02

    I agree with "as usual" but I disagree with "as usual" hiding behind a fake name to make a comment. While your comment is well articulated and respectful, it would have more credibility if attached to a real name. The Premier said he had probably been bullied more since he is in politics and he also brought up the point about comments on news sites. Remember also that at the summit they said bullying is a learned behaviour. Our children learn to bully from us parents. We need to lead by example. First step: if you don't want your read name attached to the comment, don't make the comment.

  • Bill Kays
    Bill Kays
    November 10, 2013 - 16:59

    Microsoft, Google, and Facebook cannot save you from cyber bullying, or they would have done it already. Their business models do everything possible to allow cyber bullying, not prevent it. Parents and educators should be able to recognize the bad guys in the room, (the biggest bullies of all, Microsoft, Google and Facebook), instead you embrace them and look to them to SAVE YOUR KIDS. Facebook’s International Safety Advisory Board is nothing but a farce, a façade, designed specifically to calm down the masses, not prevent cyber crime of any type, although that is what they want you to believe. So people are left with no answers, just a HOPE FOR COLLABORATION. WOW , I'm impressed.

    • As usual
      November 10, 2013 - 20:32

      You've missed the point if this summit completely. The internet is here to stay. The internet doesn't cause cyber bullying / people cause cyber bullying and use the internet as a vehicle to do it. Similar to guns- guns don't kill people - people kill people and some use guns to do it. What this summit does is bring all the people together who can affect change. A great step forward.

    • David
      November 11, 2013 - 11:12

      I'm getting used to your bizarre logic Bill and I can see how you can accuse Facebook, a social network, but how are Google and Microsoft part of your paranoid plan to cause bullying? You should stop using the Internet just to be safe or you may become a bully.