- Am I letting things go because I’m worried about making things worse for the person being targeted? Some things we do when we witness cyberbullying – even when we’re trying to help – can make things worse, so it’s always a good idea to step back and think about the situation before jumping in.
- Am I hoping that someone else will do something so I don’t have to? A lot of people are reluctant to take action, but did you know that almost three-quarters of kids who’ve witnessed cyberbullying did something about it? If that surprises you, it may be because a lot of the things we can do to help – like speaking privately to the person who’s being mean, or letting the person who’s being targeted know you care about them – don’t happen in public.
- Am I letting things go because I don’t think I can do anything to help? Actually, what you do is super important. What witnesses do about bullying is actually one of the most important factors in how much someone is hurt by it and can go a long way in building positive online spaces.
For more than twenty-five years, Canadian teachers have been at the forefront of getting students online and preparing them to use the Internet in safe, wise and responsible ways. Thanks to the SchoolNet program in the 1990s, many young Canadians had their first experiences with networked technologies in their classrooms and school libraries. However, MediaSmarts’ recent Young Canadians in a Wired World, Phase III study shows that even now, our so-called “digital natives” still need guidance from their teachers.
Before you react, ask yourself:
Lots of times kids will say they’re not bullying, they’re ‘just joking’ – in fact, it’s the number one reason for being mean online. Other times, people will play down how serious the situation really is.
For more than a decade, MediaSmarts has been a leader in defining digital literacy in Canada. This is reflected in the elementary digital literacy framework we launched in 2015. The Use, Understand & Create framework is based on a holistic approach which recognizes that the different skills that make up digital literacy cannot be fully separated.
September 22 is Character Day, an international day that fosters a conversation around developing character strengths (resilience, grit, empathy, courage, kindness) – all rooted in evidence-based research. We’d like to share some resources that can help youth think about, and develop, their character.
In 2015, MediaSmarts and PREVNet conducted a study of Canadian students – funded by TELUS – to find out how to give youth better advice and support when they witness cyberbullying. That research, Young Canadians’ Experiences with Online Bullying, aimed to discover three things: what are the barriers to witness intervention in cyberbullying? What incentives can increase the likelihood of witness intervention? And which interventions are more or less likely to have a positive outcome?