Cyberbullying SCC decision
Wanda Cassidy, Director of CELS, appeared on CBC Radio Almanac Show with host Mark Forsythe on September 27, 2012. She discussed the recent Supreme Court of Canada decision to allow a Nova Scotia teen to remain anonymous in a court battle she has launched against a cyberbully. This decision protects the identity of vulnerable teens that are victims of cyberbullying and many encourage other such victims to come forward. Dr. Cassidy also discussed her research on cyberbullying in British Columbia schools.
Media Matters Citations: Wanda Cassidy
October 15, 2012
SFU bullying expert Wanda Cassidy made several media appearances in the fallout of the Amanda Todd suicide.
In a Huffington Post article, Wanda Cassidy, an education professor, says while the negative comments are shocking, they're not isolated. One of her studies found that seven per cent of young people say they have cyber-bullied "for fun."
"There is an element in society (young and old) that enjoys seeing someone in pain. Bullying is a wider social problem—not just a youth problem," Cassidy says.
Cassidy’s research provides five tips for parents to become more aware of cyber-bullying.
- Keep the conversation open, and be there for your child if they admit to cyber-bullying someone else or are victimized. Be supportive and let them know that you are there for them.
- Update yourself on the technology and social media, so you can access the sites and help if necessary.
- Know that it may be your child who is bullying others. One-third of students aged 11-15 in her research indicated they had participated in cyber-bullying.
- Model the right behaviour you expect. Practice it in the home and your workplace. The most powerful teacher is modelling.
- Speak to the school and set up a series of dialogues with the school, parents, young people, police, etc. that create solutions for the school in your neighbourhood.
As CBC.ca reports, even since Todd’s death, negative comments have not stopped appearing on Todd’s YouTube video, her original cry for help. Cassidy says she’s shocked the bullying is continuing after Todd’s suicide. "It is really sickening," she says. "Kids aren’t the only people that cyber-bully. Older people do as well so it can be a habit that is engrained in a family or in society at large."
Cassidy says Facebook should release the names of people who commit acts of hate or libel online.
"Police need to be more involved,” she says. The courts are starting to get more involved. Parents need to be more involved, schools need to be more involved and we as a society need to say we will not tolerate this behaviour."
Cassidy also did interviews with Global TV, CKNW, CKWX, and CBC’s Ian Hanomansing to discuss the issue of cyber-bullying.
October 16, 2012
SFU bullying expert Wanda Cassidy continued her media rounds Monday in the wake of the Amanda Todd suicide.
In a Vancouver Sun article about the NDP calling on the House of Commons to develop a national anti-bullying strategy, Cassidy, an education professor, is hesitant to jump in to anything. "Certainly, people are interested in (bullying) and these types of tragic cases bring everything to the fore again," she says. "But let's not just wildly develop policy and support programs unless they're going to be effective."
Cassidy was also on CBC’s On the Coast discussing cyber-bullying.
Cassidy’s research shows that most parents don’t see cyber-bullying as a major issue. “They don’t really know what’s happening with their children,” says Cassidy. “Only 11 per cent of those parents [studied] indicated they knew of at least one incident where their child was a victim, and less than one per cent knew that their child had participated in cyber bullying. “However, of the children we studied, the children of those parents, 32 per cent had participated and 36 per cent had been victims, so obviously the parents were unaware of what was happening.” She says she was quite surprised that of the 17 educators she interviewed for her research, most of them could only describe one or two examples of cyber-bullying in their schools. “Again, they were mostly unaware,” she says.
“It’s [most] effective to create open dialogue between students, parents, educators, police . . . to really get at the heart of what’s really going on to come up with solutions,” she says.
Cassidy also spoke to both the Epoch Times and Maple Ridge News on the topic, though those stories are not yet online.
October 17, 2012
SFU bullying expert Wanda Cassidy continues to be busy in the media in the wake of the Amanda Todd suicide.
Cassidy, education professor says in a Maple Ridge News article that the anonymity of the Internet has led to the proliferation of online bullies and “Internet trolls.” "Bullies used to be on the playground and you used to know who it is that was bullying you," she says. "Now bullies can hide behind the anonymity of the Internet, and the act in an incredibly vicious way, with no repercussions." Cassidy says Canada needs to enact legislation to give police the ability to pursue and charge cyber-bullies. "The legal system is always far behind where society is going," she says. "It needs to catch up."
She says one of the most high profile examples of bullying takes place almost daily in the House of Commons.
"Parliamentarians are some of the worst bullies, just look at the way they talk to each other," says Cassidy. "What are we modeling as adults in society? We have to look at ourselves. We all have to take responsibility."
Cassidy was also interviewed on Global’s The National about vigilantism that has spawned out of Todd’s suicide. Cassidy says she worries “vigilantes” who are threatening a purported culprit are only perpetuating the bullying problem. “There's some desire to hurt people,” she says. “If the person is innocent, it's a terrible thing to have to have happen. Exactly the same thing that happened to Amanda Todd.”
October 18, 2012
Education professor Wanda Cassidy was quoted in an Epoch Times article about how to curb bullying in schools.
“I’m a big proponent of changing school culture so the environment is such that bullying will not happen. And it’s more challenging, it’s more difficult, because it requires every person to look at themselves first, and not put blame on somebody else,” she says.
The most successful anti-bullying programs are ones that directly involve children in brainstorming solutions without “lecturing” them, she says. “Everyone needs to sit down together, and the children themselves need to have a role in coming up with the solutions,” she says. “There are opportunities for talking about how we build a more caring, respectful community and society.”
October 23, 2012
Wanda Cassidy, an education professor and expert on cyber-bullying was on CBC’s On the Coast discussing the B.C. Ministry of Education’s urging of schools to not show the Amanda Todd video in class. “I think it should [be shown],” she says. “Education is all about opening discussion on really important topics that kids care about. To put a squelch on it, and say ‘no discussion allowed’ really makes it go underground. Kids are already talking about it—it’s got 20 million views on YouTube—so it’s already part of discussion and we need to bring it into the classroom.” The Ministry’s primary concern is that the video could act as a “traumatic stimuli” that could push other kids to harm themselves, but Cassidy says that’s not reason enough to ignore the video. “I think we always have to be attentive to any issue that causes grief or harm, but that doesn’t mean we ignore it or have no dialogue at all,” she says.