Students Encouraged to Stop the Spread of Cyberbullying

Department of Education (to March 26, 2013)

December 13, 2012 11:23 AM

Cyberbullying is like a virus and no one is immune.

A new public awareness campaign, Unlike-cyberbullying, launched by the province today, Dec. 13, encourages Nova Scotia youth to help cure and silence cyberbullying by treating each other as people not profiles.

"Students tell me texts, tweets and facebook postings cause as much damage as face-to-face insults," said Education Minister Ramona Jennex. "This campaign shows the power of positive comments and we want it to spark conversations about cyberbullying across the province in classrooms and between parents and their children."

The campaign video will play in Empire Theatres over the holiday season and at Halifax Mooseheads and Cape Breton Screaming Eagles hockey games in January. There is also a website with a cure toolkit and posters and materials for schools.

As part of a government initiative, a team of creative students from Bayview Community School in Mahone Bay provided the ideas for the campaign and worked with a marketing team. The successful Unlike-cyberbullying submission from Evan Hennigar, Grace Adams, Maggie Baxter and Connor Zinck asked students to look beyond someone's online identity and get to know them as a person, not just a profile.

"All people have to do is e-mail a picture, send out a tweet or update their status and negative words or hurtful messages can spread," said Evan, a Grade 6 student. "We are the cure by not posting hurtful things and nasty comments. We all hold the antidote to cyberbullying by spreading kindness and focusing on the positive."

Bullying has grown from students teasing each other on the playground to targeting someone with an unrelenting stream of intimidating messages and actions through cyberbullying.

The province is working on several fronts to help build safe and supportive learning environments but bullying is a societal problem that extends beyond the school grounds.

This fall, government passed anti-bullying legislation to help clarify, update and define the role of all school staff in reporting incidents of severely disruptive behaviour including bullying and cyberbullying, and of principals in dealing with it.



FOR BROADCAST USE:

     Cyberbullying is like a virus and no one is immune.

     A new public awareness campaign, Unlike-cyberbullying

launched by the province today (December 13th) encourages Nova

Scotia youth to help cure and silence cyberbullying by treating

each other as people not profiles.

     Education Minister Ramona Jennex says the campaign shows

the power of positive comments and will spark conversations

about cyberbullying across the province in classrooms and

between parents and their children.

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Media Contact: Naomi Shelton
              Department of Education
              902-424-5432
              Cell: 902-229-7838
              E-mail: sheltonr@gov.ns.ca