Canada and Cyberbullying: New Data, Key Researchers and Organizations

A new study has found that 8 percent of Canadian parents of children aged 7-17 indicate that their childhad been cyberbullied. The study was conducted by marketing research organization Ipsos Reid, conducted on behalf of Trend Micro (online safety software company). The study indicates that instances of cyberbullying increase with the age of the child. The prevalence of cyberbullying increases to 11 percent among those aged 16-17. One-quarter (26 percent) of parents stated that they could not be sure if their child had been a victim. This number rises to 34 percent for parents of children between the ages of 13-15. No surprises that these statistics are increasing, as time online for Canadians now exceeds time watching television.

Multiple media reports chronicle similar news of a rise in Canadian cyberbullying.

Key Canadian cyberbullying researchers/experts: Shaheen Shariff, is a prolific author on cyberbullying and Associate Professor at McGill University in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. A team at the University of Calgary is Qing Li, an associate professor of educational technology at the Faculty of Education, and Tanya Beran, School Psychology, who together have carried out several cyberbullying surveys of Canadian youth and provide an online cybersafety tool kit. Another notable expert is Faye Mishna, Faculty of Social Work at the University of Toronto (institution responsible for a notable 2008 study on cyberbullying). While known more for her general bullying program WITS (Walk Away, Ignore, Talk it Out, Seek Help), Dr. Bonnie Leadbeater of the University of Victoria also speaks to cyberbullying issues. Of course, no survey of Canadian cyberbullying experts would be complete without pointing to cyberbullying pioneer and activist Bill Belsey, the creator of probably the first cyberbullying web sites and creator of the Canada-focused site www.cyberbullying.caand who is often credited with coining the term cyberbullying.

Media Awareness Network and Young Canadians in a Wired World: In addition to those mentioned above, the Media Awareness Network, a media industry non-profit (backed through the Media Awareness Networks Be Web Aware partnership with Bell Canada and Microsoft Canada) which grew out of concerns for violence on television in the 1990s, now also focuses energies on digital safety issues, and is known for its research entitled Young Canadians in a Wired World, with its baseline Phase I study in 2000-2001 and its Phase II update in 2003-2005. Key Findings included the following: a majority (59 per cent) say they have assumed a different identify; thirty-four per cent of students in Grades 7 to 11 report being bullied, while 12 per cent report having being sexually harassed; among those who report being bullied, 74 per cent were bullied at school and 27 per cent over the Internet; for those who report sexual harassment, the situation is reversed: 47 per cent say they were harassed at school, while 70 per cent were harassed over the Internet; for those young people who report being sexually harassed over the Internet, over half (52 per cent) say it was someone they knew in the real world. While these studies are not recent, watch Media Awareness Network as a key player in Canada for information on cyberbullying research.

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