Blog Essay: Cyber – Bullying amongst Secondary and Post-Secondary School in Canada

Although bullying affect everyone at every age, a lot of it seems to start within grade school. It is statistically stated that 98% of Canadian youth access and use, compared to 93% of their American counterparts, the Internet and communication technologies daily and roughly 88% use their cell phone for the text messaging and social media to interact with friends and family as well as doing self-exploration along with learning (Mishna, et. al., 2012). However, it is becoming a new and innovated ground to bully and threaten individual’s who are viewed as different and since it is open 24 hours a day, such bullying can be constant leaving no room for the victims to breath or space to be away from their tormentor’s (Mishna, et. al., 2012).
Cyber – bullying is a major concern within Canada society. Cyber – bullying is broadly defined as general bullying to repeatedly harm through harassment, violence, sexual violence, and threats an individual’s self – esteem through the internet and social media. Specifically, this means sending mean or threatening emails and text messages, using social media and other internet outlets to spread any types of gossips, rumour’s or secrets that will harm someone’s reputations, hacking into other people’s emails or social media profile to tarnish an individual’s character through sending harmful messages to the individual’s contacts stating that the victim is a racist or enjoys lots of sex and more, using websites or blogs to post cartoons and comments to ridicule or be negative about a person, posting horrible or embarrassing photos of others on social media and emails, and attacking or ignoring the victim directly online (PREVNet, 2015). Unlike traditional bullying that targeted children who were within the categories of being “…overweight, physically weak, disabled, or unpopular who are often targeted…[currently]…all students are potential victims of cyber bullying aimed at inflicting unwarranted hurt and embarrassment on unsuspecting victims.” (Dılmaç, 2009).

 

The effects of cyber-bullying can expand to deducing to harmful effects on an individual’s emotions, his or her mental state, and how to function “normally” in a social setting. Cyberbullying is of growing concern to parents, police, educators and society because of its increased prevalence and the fact that it has been implicated as a factor in many psychology and emotional concerns like teen suicide. Other health concerns that come out of cyberbullying can be viewed whether the victim goes such as schools, home and other commonplaces. Such health symptoms are aggressive behavior, that can be done many times over however long a duration, which can affect any age, gender and group of people (Deschanp & McNutt, 2016; Dılmaç, 2009). It can also affect the academic performance to uncertain feelings when going at home or school, absenteeism, psychological problems such as loneliness, depression, anxiety, school phobias, and maladaptive behaviours (aggression, smoking, drinking, shop-lifting) and more (Dılmaç, 2009; Deschanp & McNutt, 2016).

For universities, like the University of Ottawa, there is no direct policy on (cyber)bullying, while most of their policies focus on sexual violence, discrimination, and harassment and connect to the Ontario Human Rights Code (n.d.). Many lower levels of schools have policies and regulations to ensure that bullying happens as little as possible. There is concerns, however, of such school policies, regulations and codes of conduct because of the blurred lines with “cyber – bullying” which ranges from where it takes place (on campus versus off) to freedom of expression due to how well individual’s can express themselves on social media and other online communication forms resulting to the need for policies to balance the two and maybe need to be specific as to what is offensive-harmful (Faucher et. al., 2014). Additionally, there are concerns that the policies are too vague or there are no regulations placed within the academic environment to allow for some form of protection or where to go for help if something happens.

 

There are some governmental protection. Federally, Bill C – 13, officially known as An Act to amend the Criminal Code, the Canada Evidence Act, the Competition Act and the Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters Act (Protecting Canadians from Online Crime Act), and has stated new changes to the Criminal Code of Canada to which any infringement of telecommunications can be include to the actions of cyberbullying and other cyberspace criminal activities along with the non-consent distribution of intimate image that can lead to 6 months of imprisonment or $5000 in fine (Nicols & Valianquet, 2013). Yet, Bill C – 13 highly emphasizes child pornography, section 163.1, which now includes many teens photos they take of themselves and sharing with others means no one consents that will lead to a minimum sentencing while 162.1 says that those over 18 need to consent (Nicols & Valianquet, 2013).
Provincially, there have been some established laws. This can be seen with Nova Scotia, since Rehtah Parson’s national public suicide in 2013, who has established the Cyber-Safety Act to protect victims and holding bullies responsible, yet, if the bullies are minors, then the parent’s/legal guardians are held responsible; the law was struck down due to infringing the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, yet, it is still viewed that anything said with cyberbullying should be resented to the police (CBC New, 2013; CYBERSCAN, n.d.). For Alberta, the Albertan government just has a website that links to concerns with general bullying, cyberbullying, homo- and trans- phobic bullying along with PREVNet health facts and a bullying helpline along with other sources to deal with cyberbuylling (2016). Yet, there is a need for more change in regulations, especially the need(s) for more action and implementation within society along with a collaboration between schools, parents, help and health clinics as well as governments to come together to find ways to decrease bullying within the technological setting.

 

In conclusion, as what Dalhousie University Professor Wayne MacKay stated that even with the cyberbullying laws, policies and more, we need to be cautious and have to ensure that three components are looked into “…education, changing the laws and preventing cyberbullying by teaching young people about how to be responsible online citizens…[because in reality]…”Any study looking at cyberbullying suggests you can’t simply demonize the bullies and say they should be sent off to some island somewhere and they’re a separate species,”…bystanders become the bullies, sometimes the victims become the bullies, the line between all of it is quite complicated and that’s one of the reasons in the report — and the government has followed through on some of this — we’ve stressed restorative approaches where possible.” (CBC New, 2013).

References

Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (2013). N.S. Cyberbullying Legislation Allows Victims to

Sue Law Enables Victims to Apply for Protection Orders or Identify Alleged Cyberbullies. Retrieved from: http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/nova-scotia/n-s-cyberbullying-legislation-allows-victims-to-sue-1.1307338

Deschamps, R., & McNutt, K. (2016). Cyberbullying: What’s the problem? Canadian Public

Administration, 59(1), 45-71. doi:10.1111/capa.12159

Dılmaç, B. b. (2009). Psychological Needs as a Predictor of Cyber bullying: a Preliminary

Report on College Students. Educational Sciences: Theory & Practice, 9(3), 1307-1325.

Faucher, C., Cassidy, W., Jackson, M., Waterhouse, T., and L. MacDonald (2014).

Cyberbullying at Canadian Universities: Linking, Research, Policy and Practive. Simon Fraser University. Retrieved from: http://www.sfu.ca/content/sfu/education/cels/News/events/cyberbullying-at-canadian-universities-linking-research-practice1/_jcr_content/main_content/download/file.res/Working%20Paper%201%20-%20Parameters%20of%20the%20Issue.pdf

Government of Alberta (2016). What is Bullying? Bullying Prevention. Retrieved from:

https://education.alberta.ca/bullying-prevention/what-is-bullying/everyone/bullying-helpline/

Mishna, F., Khoury-Kassabri, M., Gadalla, T., & Daciuk, J. (2012). Risk factors for involvement

in cyber bullying: Victims, bullies and bully–victims. Children and Youth Services Review, 34(1), 63-70. doi:10.1016/j.childyouth.2011.08.032

Nicols, J. and Valiquet, D. (2013). Bill C – 13: An Act to Amend the Criminal Code, the Canada

Evidence Act, the Competition Act, the Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters Act. Library of Parliament: Ottawa. Retrieved from: http://www.lop.parl.gc.ca/Content/LOP/LegislativeSummaries/41/2/c13-e.pdf

PREVNet (2015). CyberBullying. The Internet has no delete button. Bullying online lasts

forever! Retrieved from: http://www.prevnet.ca/bullying/cyber-bullying

University of Ottawa (n.d.). Harassment and Discrimination. Human Rights Office. Retrieved

from: http://www.uottawa.ca/respect/en/policies-regulations/harassment-discrimination

University of Ottawa (n.d.). Sexual Violence. Human Rights Office. Retrieved from:

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Not-So-Social Media Organizational Strategies

Museums and Libraries dealing with negative comments on their social media sites.

This varies between each institutions and what individual’s have actually stated. For museums, they want to encourage positive comments to result to more in-person clientele. It can also depend on private versus public museums and their stakeholders. For the private museum stakeholders, there is a need for keeping and gaining fiances that can result to wanting to fully remove the comment or individual. For the public, there is a need for people to view what people think while making sure that their opinions aren’t so offensive that it may harm others, especially the organization.

  • There should be a code of conduct stating what is appropriate behaviour that individuals and groups can make within the blog post/comment section of the museum or library website that can deal with harmful responses such as threats, overt harrassments, racism and sexism, and more
  • Implement such conduct through:
    • Remove comment &/or profile
    • Monitor sites for what people say
    • watch what they place online not to rally people up

Agnostic confrontation versus Rationale Discourse

  1. Agnostic confrontation is an active hostility or opposition, as between unfriendly or conflicting groups once confronted about a particular subject. People can be more emotional rather than their rational thought. If there is discourse or some sort of pressure, then the individual or groups hostility would come out and their true colour’s may come out.
  2. there can be a fine line between agnostic confrontation and rational discourse. People can be provokingly ask political questions or politely be a racist. Additionally, people can be direct without being direct or blunt to ensure a roughly equal answer that can be under both sides. This can be seen with Trump being not paying his taxes; Trudeau and Saudi Arabia; Clinton and BenGauzi
  3. The government should have better protocol and guidelines on how to deal with agnostic confrontation dealing with violent situations. For RCMP and other police forces they need to place more diversity.
  4. Open government with open consultation, for agnostic confrontation could go home. Yet, realistically, one does not know what could happen once discussions come about, especially subjects that are new or haven’t come about. For rationalistic discourse, people may not say enough or anything to be polite and not want to harm or make people angry.

Johns, A., & McCosker, A. (2015). Social media conflict: Platforms for racial vilification, or acts of provocation and citizenship? Communication, Politics & Culture, 47(3), 44-54. Retrieved Oct. 19, 2016 from  https://www.rmit.edu.au/about/our-education/academic-schools/media-and-communication/research/publications/communication-politics–culture-journal/archive/volume-47-2014-part-3/