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Ottawa, February 10, 2009 – Media Awareness Network (MNet) today launched the classroom resource Cyber Bullying: Encouraging Ethical Online Behaviour to meet the growing need for educational materials that address the issue of cyber bullying in Canadian schools. The launch coincides with Safer Internet Day—an international event to promote safe and responsible use of online technology and mobile phones among children and young people.
The resource, developed with funding from the Government of Canada, comprises a series of bilingual lessons intended to support and enhance school-based anti-bullying and empathy-building programs. The lessons give students a better understanding of the ethical and legal implications of cyber bullying and promote positive Internet use.
“Research on Internet life has shown that the greatest threat to kids online comes from kids themselves, both in the form of risky behaviour and online harassment or cyber bullying,” says MNet Co-Executive Director Cathy Wing. “The key to decreasing incidents of cyber bullying and increasing young people’s online safety lies in education.”
According to MNet’s research Young Canadian in a Wired World, 94 per cent of youth surveyed reported to have Internet access at home. In addition, of the children that reported having cell phones, 44 per cent could surf the Internet and 56 percent could text message. While most online interactions are positive, many young people are using e-mail, instant messaging, Web sites, chat rooms, text messaging and camera-enabled cell phones to cyber bully peers.
“As youth are using new technologies as their primary form of communications, they need to understand the serious ramifications of negative online interactions,” said Ms. Wing. “MNet’s new cyber bullying lessons give teachers the tools to help young people understand the impact of their online behaviours and to empower them to promote pro-social, anti-bullying behaviours among their peers.”
Cyber Bullying: Encouraging Ethical Online Behaviour was produced with support from Government of Canada, Canadian Teachers’ Federation, Dr. Shaheen Shariff, Faculty of Education, McGill University and the Red Cross RespectEd Program.
The lessons are available on MNet’s website at www.media-awareness.ca/en/lessonplan/classroom-resources-counter-cyberbullying-portal-page.
More information on Safer Internet Day can be found at www.saferinternet.org/ww/en/pub/insafe/sid.htm.
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About Media Awareness Network (MNet)
Media Awareness Network is a Canadian not-for-profit centre of expertise in media education. Its vision is to ensure children and youth possess the necessary critical thinking skills and tools to understand and actively engage with media. MNet's programs are funded by its public and private sector sponsors, donors and partners, who include: Bell Canada (Founding Sponsor) • CTVglobemedia • Canwest• TELUS• National Film Board of Canada • Government of Canada.
For more information, contact:
Ann Marie Paquet
Media Awareness Network
Tel: (613) 224-7721, Ext. 231
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