Safe Schools: Cyberbullying

Cyberbullying

Online Respect and Responsibility

Cyberbullying is different from other forms of bullying. It can:

  • spread to many people very quickly
  • be done anonymously
  • remain posted online for an indefinite period of time
  • have a negative effect on the school climate, even when it originates off school property.

Where can I go to learn more?

  • Kids Help Phone offers counselling to students by phone and through their online counselling, information and referral services.
  • The Kids' Internet Safety Alliance (KINSA) works with law enforcement, business and youth to advocate, educate and train people about the possible dangers that can be found on the Internet.
  • CyberCops is an educational, computer-based program created by the Ontario Physical and Health Education Association. Mirror Image for Grade 7s and Air Dogs for Grade 8s brings interactive gaming into the classroom to teach students about the risks and safety issues associated with Internet use.
  • Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario. You will find numerous resources to assist in protecting your privacy and accessing information.

What do students think about technology and cyberbullying?

In May 2007, the ministry held a forum with students from across Ontario to better understand how they are using the internet, cell phones and other technologies.

The students talked about the positive impact of technology. They also shared their experiences and perspectives, and suggested solutions to problems like cyberbullying, including:

  • strengthening student leadership
  • improving awareness about technology and online activity
  • continuing efforts by schools and government to engage students
  • finding different approaches to address inappropriate use of technology.

Here is a sample of some of the comments we heard from students attending the forum:

  • Physical bullying isn't happening as much now, but cyber bullying happens…When there's bullying face to face there is no hard copy. People can brush it off and forget. But when its cyber bullying, it will always be there to remind you.”
  • “We can choose as individuals whether or not to perpetuate or contribute to cyber bullying. And so, it's our choice, it's our responsibility.”
  • “People need to be educated that technology needs to be used responsibly and not in a negative manner.”
  • “The criticism of a fellow peer is more effective than the disapproval of an adult. And it is so important that we as students lead this cause, in order for it to be effective and in order for us to find a solution.”

A summary of the discussion is published in Get Connected, Get in the Know: Online Respect and Responsibility. You can use this paper to spark your own conversations.