May 10, 2013
For Immediate Release
WINNIPEG, MB: Today the Canadian Centre for Child Protection held a roundtable discussion to address the crisis of cyberbullying that is impacting youth across this nation. In attendance were the Right Honourable Stephen Harper, Prime Minister of Canada; Vic Toews, Minister of Public Safety; Joyce Bateman, Member of Parliament for Winnipeg South Centre; leading experts in the field of cyberbullying and the online sexual exploitation of children and teens; and families whose children were victimized by this form of online aggression. The overwhelming consensus was, that in this age of rapidly changing technology, never before in history has there been a more critical time to come together and work towards ways of addressing the issue of the online victimization of children and youth at the hands of their own peers.
“Over the past year we have witnessed both the complexity of the issue of cyberbullying and the tragedy that can result,” said Lianna McDonald, Executive Director, Canadian Centre for Child Protection. “Cyberbullying has impacted the lives of so many Canadian families. Now is the time to come together to make sure that our children are not alone when dealing with these difficult issues. We are honoured to have the Prime Minister take the time today to meet with our agencies and families on this important issue.”
The roundtable follows the April 21 launch of the Canadian Centre for Child Protection’s online resource, NeedHelpNow.ca, designed to help Canadian youth who have been negatively impacted by the creation and distribution of sexual pictures/videos online. Mrs. Laureen Harper supported the launch which brought together Canadian musicians and politicians on the Twittersphere to spread the important message that #youtharenotalone. NeedHelpNow.ca, created with the support of Bell, provides teens with helpful information such as: how to stop the spread of sexual images online; how to go about seeking the support of a safe adult; how to manage peers, family and school environments; and how to cope with the harassment that may be occurring both online and offline.
Today’s discussion brought together key players in the fight against cyberbullying including the Government of Canada and experts from the Canadian Centre for Child Protection, Kids Help Phone, PrevNet, and the Respect Group. They were also joined by families who have sadly lost their children due to the impacts of cyberbullying.
“It is hoped that as concerned parents, adults and educators, we can work towards building a safer on-line community for this generation and the future ones to come,” said Carol Todd, mother of Amanda Todd. “Our children are precious and we cannot afford to lose them to behaviours and actions that are preventable. It is imperative for everyone to work together and bring about the changes needed to make the difference.”
“Rehtaeh was failed by the school system, legal system, and the health system,” said the Parsons and Canning families, parents of Rehteah Parsons. “We are happy to be able to work with the Canadian Centre for Child Protection. They have made it a priority to ensure changes are made so that another child does not fall through the same cracks in the system. We are also very pleased to be here with the Prime Minister discussing this important issue.”
“I would like to see the support needed for the children that are victimized,” said Pam Murchison, mother of Jenna Bowers-Bryanton. “Technology, and society have created this, and we have to own it, recognize it and fix it.”
“We need to open up the discussion of our youth and their safety online which we have done today,” said Joanne Landolt, aunt of Kimberly Proctor. “Youths need to understand that they can't hide behind the computer, many times saying things they never would in person. Their postings are available 24/7, have a lasting impression and has a huge impact on lives. I'm honoured to be here today taking part in this discussion with these wonderful families and with the Prime Minister.”
“Our hope is that from this roundtable we can create positive change, as we work together, learn from one another, and make sure the tragic circumstances these families have had to face with the loss of a loved one, are never felt by another family,” said McDonald. “We are all responsible for the protection of children, and we must come together in creative ways to reach them, oftentimes in the space where they may be struggling with relationships with peers such as social media, and let them know they are not alone.”
If you are a member of the media and would like to arrange an interview with one of our spokespeople please contact our communications team:
Communications, Canadian Centre for Child Protection