CALGARY — In October, a star in the constellation Auriga was named Amanda’s Snowflake Star of Hope, a celestial legacy for B.C. teen Amanda Todd, who has become one of the tragic faces of cyberbullying in Canada.
With the help of public donations, Amanda’s mother, Carol Todd, had the star at the edge of the Milky Way named for her daughter’s birthday last month. It would have been Amanda’s 20th.
In what became a global story, Amanda took her own life in October, 2012, desperate to escape a torrent of online bullying she endured after being maliciously targeted through video chat when she was in Grade 7.
MediaSmarts has created the Impact! How to Make a Difference When You Witness Bullying Online program: a suite of resources for youth, parents, and teachers to support witnesses to cyberbullying. The program, which launched as part of Bullying Awareness Week (Nov. 13 – 19) was funded by TELUS.
The resources include:
· A step-by-step, online interactive decision-making tool that helps students choose effective strategies for intervening in different cyberbullying situations;
· A classroom lesson that supports the decision-making tool, with additional role-playing activities for students;
· A parents’ guide, Helping Our Kids Navigate Cyberbullying, to help parents better support their kids if they’re targets of or witnesses to cyberbullying; and
· A series of printable posters for the classroom that promote low-risk ways of intervening when students witness cyberbullying.
All of these resources build upon the findings from Young Canadians’ Experiences with Online Bullying, a 2015 study conducted by MediaSmarts and PREVNet and funded by TELUS. The research 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? The findings informed the development of the Impact! program, which provides advice to youth, families, and educators for effective intervening in cyberbullying situations.
This month, in partnership with Family Channel, TELUS WISE is launching webisodes and PSAs to promote positive online behaviours; advocate for bullying prevention; and promote online resources for Canadian tweens and teens.
#TELUSWISE will continue to do all they can to help our younger generations develop the skills to protect themselves online, while also raising awareness about mental health issues to ensure kids feel secure asking for help in times of crisis.