Cyberbullying isn’t a buzzword; it’s a prevailing issue facing youth across Canada and the globe. Young Canadians are more connected than ever before, with 71 per cent of parents buying their child’s first smartphone or tablet before they turn 14. This constant connectivity has shifted their social interactions and with this shift, bullying has also evolved, finding a new home online.
TELUS WISE and its partners wanted to dig into this topic further. In partnership with PREVNet and MediaSmarts, we embarked on a national study that sought to better understand the factors that influence whether or not youth speak up when witnessing cyberbullying and their perspectives on how to intervene.
The study found that cyberbullying is more prevalent than we think, with 42 per cent of youth saying they have been cyberbullied, and 60 per cent saying they had witnessed others being cyberbullied. But perhaps the most interesting piece of data from the study is that youth want to stand up to cyberbullying, but they need to feel better supported by adults to do so.
In fact, 71 per cent of youth who saw cyberbullying did something to intervene at least once, but when asked why they don’t intervene when they observe cyberbullying, 33 per cent said they don’t believe adults give advice that helps.
As parents, guardians, big brothers, sisters and mentors, we have to do a better job of understanding the issue and empowering young Canadians to stand up against cyberbullying with helpful advice and effective strategies they need to intervene safely.
Here are some ways you can do your part in helping the young people in your life take action against cyberbullying.