Online gaming has never been so popular. According to an Ipsos Reid survey, more than half of young Canadians say they visit gaming sites and play online games several times a week.
Spam, online scams and frauds, identity theft and issues related to online purchases are a serious issue in the online world. Navigating the Web while avoiding these threats can be a challenging task.
Traditional government responses to online hate have been to police cyberspace as an extension of the state’s territory, ignoring the online/offline divide.
Instant Messaging (IM) is to young people what email is to their parents’ generation: the best way to communicate online (with the advantage that IM conversations take place in real time).
For most youth, the Internet is all about socializing, and while most of these social interactions are positive, increasing numbers of kids are using the technology to intimidate and harass others – a phenomenon known as cyberbullying.
Verbal or emotional abuse is the most prevalent form of bullying online. Social bullying, another pervasive form – particularly with girls – includes social exclusion and spreading gossip and rumours.
It’s important to note that there is no single profile of a child who bullies. While some fit the traditional image of someone who is generally aggressive and has poor impulse control, others may be very sensitive to social nuances and are able to use that understanding against their targets.
Cyberbullying is everyone’s business and the best response is a pro-active or preventative one. From the outset, we can reduce the risks associated with Internet use if we engage in an open discussion with our children about their online activities and set up rules that will grow along with them.
Cyberbullying can be addressed under civil law or criminal law, based on the situation.
Framed around key concepts of media literacy, the Facing Online Hate tutorial examines how the Internet is used to spread and incite hate, how radicalization occurs, and how youth encounter hate online both through traditional hate sites and “cultures of hatred”. The tutorial also provides strategies for building critical thinking skills in young people to help them understand the nature of online hate, how they may be targets and how to respond appropriately when bias, stereotyping and hatred are encountered online.