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.”

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

COVID claims 23rd Langley Lodge patient, making it the deadliest outbreak in B.C.

Coronavirus kills another senior at Langley care home, bringing B.C. total to 166

VIDEO: Parking lot rally in support of Langley Lodge

“It’s important to let them know that we’re all thinking about them, and we’re here for them’

Langley daughter recalls last words spoken to mother who died of COVID-19 on 88th birthday

Verna Clarke was more than a senior with dementia who died of COVID at Langley Lodge, she was ‘loved’

Langley grads mark a milestone amid a pandemic

Many local schools are finding ways to celebrate Grade 12 students

Aldergrove 60-year-old can ‘finally afford to retire’ after winning $24M in lottery

Ronald Cumiskey plans to use his Lotto 6/49 winnings to stay close to home, and his daughters

If Trudeau won’t stand up to Trump, how will regular people: Singh

Trudeau did not directly answer a question about Trump’s actions amid protests

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

Thanks for helping the Aldergrove Star to continue its mission to provide trusted local news

VIDEO: Internal investigation into aggressive arrest by Kelowna Mountie

A video allegedly shows a Kelowna Mountie striking a man several times

Family of dead B.C. football star urge changes to mental health policies in hospitals

Uko family disappointed in actions of Regina hospital, hosting public funeral service this weekend

22 new COVID-19 test-positives, one death following days of low case counts in B.C.

Health officials urged British Columbians to ‘stand together while staying apart’

John Horgan says COVID-19 restrictions won’t be eased regionally

B.C. Liberals urge ‘tailored’ response based on infections

Feds get failing grade for lack of action plan on anniversary of MMIWG report

‘Instead of a National Action Plan, we have been left with a Lack-of-Action Plan’

Maple Ridge woman fights WorkSafe BC over police widow’s pension

Dalila Vroom says husband, Const. Rob Vroom, died as a result of PTSD from time with Abbotsford PD

B.C. ranchers, lodge operators say Indigenous land title shuts them out

Tsilhqot’in jurisdiction affects grazing, access to private property

Most Read