One of the biggest changes in our understanding of bullying over the past few years has been our increased awareness of the important role that witnesses, or bystanders, play in any bullying situation. Research on offline bullying has shown that witnesses can be just as important as targets or perpetrators in determining how a bullying scenario plays out. This is especially relevant in the case of electronic bullying, where witnesses have many more choices in how they might engage: they can choose to be invisible, to join in anonymously, to re-victimize someone by forwarding bullying material – or they can choose to intervene, to offer support to the person being targeted and to bear witness to what they have seen
Today is Safer Internet Day 2016(February 9), and the theme is “play your part for a better internet”. To help you play your part, we’d like to share a new tip sheet by and for Canadian youths on how to make the Internet safer and better for everyone.
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.
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.
Over the last week our world has been invaded: cute cartoon creatures can now be found lurking in parks, restaurants, museums, and even people’s houses. If you haven’t seen them, it’s because they’re only visible on a smartphone screen, and only if you’re playing the new game “Pokémon Go”.
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?
This year, it may not just be Santa Claus who sees your kids when they’re sleeping and knows when they’re awake: one of the hottest trends this season is so-called “smart toys”, which use the Internet to hold artificially intelligent conversations with kids while they play. Last year’s Hello Barbie, one of the first to use this technology, was found to have a number of major security flaws – including automatically connecting the mobile device to which it was tethered to any Wi-Fi network with “Barbie” in its name. Now two more toys, a doll called My Friend Cayla and the i-Que Intelligent Robot, have been found to collect data in ways that are far more worrying.
Kids today are using screens more, earlier, and on a wider variety of devices than ever before, and more and more parents are seeking help in taking control of their children’s screen time.