79 - Virtual Bullying, Real Consequences

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Chat rooms, facebook, text messages, instant messaging: our ways of communicating wirelessly and online seem to grow everyday, and no group is more connected than young people.

Ninety-nine percent of all Canadian students have used the internet, 60 percent frequent chat rooms and use instant messaging, and nearly half use the internet for about an hour each day. Most of this communication is harmless and is often helpful in building ties with friends, But like everyday interaction outside the virtual world, some encounters can be harmful or dangerous.

Not surprisingly, bullying has found its way onto the internet. Insulting or threatening messages can be left on myspace or facebook profiles any time of day and for the public to see. A third of Canadians now say they know someone who has been bullied online. Like many aspects of our growing internet use, people are struggling to identify exactly how to deal with cyberbullying.

In this week's episode, Virtual Bullying, Real Consequences, Dana Salter brings together interviews with Jeff Cole, Diana Cross and Will Gardner, all experts in various fields touching on online security and education. Salter, a graduate student and research assistant for Dr. Shaheen Shariff in the Faculty of Education at McGill University, conducted all three interviews at the 2008 Netsafe conference in New Zealand, where Dr. Shariff was a keynote speaker on the topic of cyberbullying.

Have a listen, visit CitizenShift to leave your comments, and keep an eye out in early 2009 for our upcoming dossier digging deeper into the phenomenon of cyberbullying.

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