Messages from a video by Port Coquitlam teen Amanda Todd

Teach online safety in school, experts say

B.C.'s bullying awareness and reporting strategies should be bolstered by classroom instruction, say privacy and child advocacy officers

Instruction to protect children from “cyberbullying” should be included in B.C.’s new school curriculum, according to a new report from the province’s independent child welfare and privacy officers.

The B.C. government’s current school anti-bullying program was put in place in June 2012. Four months later, 15-year-old Amanda Todd posted a video of her online treatment before she killed herself at her Port Coquitlam home, putting an international face on the dangers faced by young people socializing online.

In 2013, Nova Scotia teen Rehtaeh Parsons was also driven to suicide after explicit pictures of her were circulated on social media. Representative for Children and Youth Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond and Information and Privacy Commissioner Elizabeth Denham surveyed the laws and strategies in place inside and outside B.C. since then.

Their report, presented Friday to the B.C. government, calls for more measures in schools in addition to the ERASE (Expect Respect And a Safe Education) strategy put in place in 2012. It provides for anonymous reporting by students of bullying, either online or in person.

The report calls for the education ministry to “ensure that developmentally appropriate learning objectives about cyberbullying and digital citizenship be included in the provincial school curriculum and delivered to all school-age children as soon as possible.”

Education Minister Mike Bernier said Friday the new school curriculum, which began implementation this fall, already includes “a focus on bullying behaviour and discrimination starting in Grade 4.”

Bernier said in a statement the ministry has developed resources for teachers, with course objectives for different grades “about cyberbullying, internet safety, privacy and security, relationships and communication.”

Denham and Turpel-Lafond cite research showing that 99 per cent of young people have online access outside of school, and that by Grade 11, more than half sleep with their phones nearby so they can exchange messages at night. They caution against parental efforts to monitor young people’s communications around the clock, or to cut off their access.

“For young people, halting use of social media, websites, cellphones or email accounts is an impractical solution,” the report states. “It would be equivalent to house arrest and social deprivation.”

 

Just Posted

BC SPCA proposes fines for animal mistreatment, reduction in commercial trade

Animal welfare group’s ideas brought to Victoria councillors

New Victoria graving dock will offer high-paying jobs

New facility will reuse and treat any water required for repair process

Trial date delayed in case of slain Oak Bay sisters

Case of Andrew Berry, charged in deaths of daughters, will reconvene in three weeks

Pearkes opens doors to home renovation and decor expo

Plenty of ideas for homeowners at Victoria Early Spring Home Expo running Friday through Sunday

Man surprises trial, claims responsibility for Saanich sex assault

Fellow inmate of accused David Hope claims responsibility

Light snow leads to heavy traffic in Victoria

Wednesday’s snowfall caused traffic chaos as commuters tried to get home

Indigenous elders share history with Ladysmith students

‘Our kids learning their history through elders is nothing that we can find in our textbooks’

It’s quietly business as usual for the E&N

Waiting game continues in quest for direction on service ceased since 2011

Dozens represent Saanich at B.C. Winter Games

More than 2,100 athletes, coaches and family in Kamloops for Games, Feb. 22 to 25

New UVic program combines Indigenous and non-Indigenous law

A leading Aboriginal legal theorist praises a new program at the University… Continue reading

OT win gives Cougars early lead in VIJHL playoffs series

Westshore led 2-0 after one, Victoria comeback completed with Berryman goal

Three new judges appointed to B.C. Supreme Court

Two spots filled in Vancouver, one in New Westminster

Pilot program trains next generation of Island farmers

Parksville’s GoodSeeds introduces youth 17-30 years to agricultural careers

B.C. MP invites convicted terrorist to Trudeau reception in India

Jaspal Atwal was convicted of trying to assassinate an Indian cabinet minister

Most Read