Technology Facilitated Violence: Criminal Case Law Lesson Plan

This lesson plan explores the relationship between technology and the law by examining how the criminal law responds to technologically facilitated violence (TFV). Not only will it enhance students’ understanding of the legal meaning of key terms such as “violence”, it will also engage them in dialogue about the surrounding social and legal issues and the ways in which new and emerging technologies are affecting the relationship between the law and technology. Through the exploration of Canadian case studies, and subsequent discussion, students will develop their knowledge on legal implications of various forms of TFV such as harassing communications, criminal harassment, unauthorized use of computer systems, non-consensual disclosure of intimate images (sometimes referred to as “revenge porn”), and hate propaganda. Students will use materials from The eQuality Project’s “Technology-Facilitated Violence: Criminal Case Law” database to research recent Canadian case law involving TFV, better understand the concept of “violence” and the wide range of acts that fall within TFV, as well as the available criminal legal resources and potential outcomes for those affected.

English

In its early days, the internet was often spoken of as a free marketplace of ideas, where everyone’s views and thoughts could be shared and compete on an equal footing. Today it’s an essential tool for accessing information and services, but its value as a vehicle of civic engagement and debate has in many ways declined.

How to push back against hate online

Most kids see hate and prejudice online, and most of them say it’s important to do something about it. But whether you’ve seen a video that’s full of racist conspiracy theories or have just seen a friend share an offensive meme, it can be hard to know what to do about it.

Talking to kids about hate online

Most kids see hate and prejudice in places like games, social networks, and online videos. They also say that they want to do something about it when they see it, but don’t know what to do.

A Guide for Trusted Adults is based on YWCA’s consultation with Canadian girls and young women about their concerns and the issues they face online and on social media platforms and the ways they want the adults in their lives to support them.

Talking to kids about hate in media

Along with images of natural disasters and violence, one all-too-common news item that can be distressing to kids is reports of hate crimes. Seeing or hearing about hate-motivated assaults and vandalism of homes, cemeteries and places of worship in media, can lead to fear and anxiety in young people, especially if they belong to a vulnerable group. In many cases, the effect will be worse because news isn’t the only place Canadian kids see hate and racism: almost half see hateful content online at least once a month, and one in six sees it every day.

The last few weeks have shed an unprecedented light on the use of digital media to spread and inspire hatred. Michael Zehaf-Bibeau, the perpetrator in the attacks on Canada’s National War Memorial and Parliament buildings, appears to have been motivated in part by exposure to online postings by a self-described member of the Islamic state[1], and the Federal government has already stated that it intends to create tools to remove online content that promotes the “proliferation of terrorism.”[2]

In e-Parenting Tutorial: Keeping up with your kids’ online activities, Alice, a witty and cyber-savvy mom, takes parents on a tour of the many different Web environments and activities that are popular with children and youth. 

Facing Online Hate

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.

Bigotry, in its various forms, has been with us for a long time – at least since the Greeks coined the word “barbarian” to mean “anyone who isn’t us,” and likely longer – so it’s not surprising that racism, sexism and other prejudices have found a home on the Internet. MediaSmarts’ new report Young Canadians in a Wired World: Encountering Racist and Sexist Content Online looks at how often Canadian youth are exposed to prejudice, how it makes them feel and how they respond to it.

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