Cyberbullying action plan going to Premier Robert Ghiz today

Jim Day
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Parry Aftab to lay out recommendations from StopCyberbullying Canada

Glen Canning and Leah Parsons, the parents of Rehtaeh Parsons, share their story with Parry Aftab during th International Stop Cyberbullying Youth Summit at the Confederation Centre of the Arts.

A leading expert on cyberbullying will present to Premier Robert Ghiz today an action plan to address this harmful practice.

Joined by students ranging in age from six to 17, Parry Aftab will lay out a number of recommendations from StopCyberbullying Canada.

Aftab, who organized the International Stop Cyberbullying Youth Summit in Charlottetown in November, is urging each province and the federal government to establish a youth advisory group to advise on youth-centric policy issues, including but not limited to cyberbullying and related digital abuses.

She says StopCyberbullying Canada recommends that each province and Ottawa also establish a bullying/cyberbullying co-ordinator position.

Aftab will be asking Ghiz to create and maintain a supervisor position to oversee a Safety in Schools program.

“Some provinces have it,’’

she says. “We don’t have it (on P.E.I.).’’

She says the supervisor would deal with school violence including bullying, cyberbullying and threats — basically “all the kinds of bad things that can happen to kids in school.’’

Stop Cyberbullying Canada recommends that all schools develop and support a peer-counselling program that, among other issues, addresses cyberbullying and related digital abuses by, to and among students as well as cyberharassment of teachers by students.

The group also recommends that premiers appoint a ministerial co-ordinator to help the various ministries to co-ordinate their cyberbullying, school violence and digital literacy and media skills activities.

The international conference in November brought together hundreds of youths, media companies and experts to start the process of putting together an action plan to stop the online form of harassment.

Aftab calls the resulting Youth Community Action Plan released to The Guardian Thursday as “very comprehensive.’’

Aftab adds she is not looking to push Ghiz or other premiers to establish provincial legislation on cyberbullying.

On Nov. 20, the federal government introduced Bill C-13, Protecting Canadians from Online Crime Act.

The legislation makes it a criminal offence to distribute intimate images without the consent of the person depicted.

Last week, Ottawa also launched a national campaign to stop cyberbullying.

The campaign will raise awareness among Canadians of the impact of cyberbullying, and when this behavior amounts to criminal activity.

jday@theguardian.pe.ca

Organizations: International Stop Cyberbullying Youth Summit

Geographic location: Ottawa, Charlottetown, Canada

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Recent comments

  • Island Atheist
    January 17, 2014 - 16:03

    We can start by having religious people keeping their opinions to themselves. No one cares that they hate people who are different than their Green Gables view of the world.

  • Steven Davis
    January 17, 2014 - 13:59

    I have attended a couple of ms. Aftab's sessions. The topic is certainly a hot button one for sure. There is no doubt the amount of stress and pressures that people, not just kids face from social media and cyber-bullying. Her plan calls for the government to establish a position in the schools, to monitor and deal with these issues. I would hope the Premier would not prioritize this near the top of updates for our schools. As much public debate has focussed on the student's results in International testing, the teacher and EA cuts, the huge attendance issues in our schools, and the disorganization of the school boards and departments. I don't think Ms. Aftab's request should be immediately addressed with funding from the provicnce. Maybe she could tap into the friends in high places that she has. She likes to drop the names of Oprah, Dr. Phil, Matt Lauer, Anderson Cooper and Facebook , Microsoft and Google as accessing her expertise. Maybe these companies that create the technology that results in the cyberbullying, could step up and provide personnel and funding for supports? Give back to the people they make Billions from.

    • candrayo
      January 17, 2014 - 17:11

      I challenge ALL parents to become ENGAGED! We all need to tap into OUR own resources…and not rely on Government to make OUR change for US!!!! They clearly have it all wrong!!! Well Said Steven Davis!