1 in 4 Canadian kids admit to cyberbullying: poll

About one in four Canadian kids surveyed about cyberbullying admitted they have been “mean or cruel” to someone online, while more than one in three say they’ve been a victim, according to a newly released study.

TORONTO — About one in four Canadian kids surveyed about cyberbullying admitted they have been “mean or cruel” to someone online, while more than one in three say they’ve been a victim, according to a newly released study.

But experts say cyberbullying is probably not as rampant or serious as some parents would believe.

Matthew Johnson is director of education for the non-profit organization MediaSmarts, which worked last year with schools in each province and territory to poll 5,436 students in grades 4 through 11 about online issues.

“There’s frequently a perception in the media and certainly held by schools and governments that there’s an epidemic of cyberbullying and a perception that some of the most extreme cases with the most tragic results are the norm,” says Johnson.

“What we see in fact is that it is much less common and much smaller numbers of students experience significant harm.”

Most commonly, students said the bullying act they committed was name calling (78 per cent), while very few students owned up to more serious bad behaviour. Just 12 per cent said they made fun of someone’s race or religion, seven per cent said they teased a peer about their sexual orientation, and four per cent said they sexually harassed someone.

Johnson says many kids don’t associate their unkind behaviour with so-called cyberbullying and instead think it’s just normal and a part of the “drama of teen life.”

“What might be happening in a lot of cases is that it seems like just joking around to the person who’s doing it and it doesn’t necessarily seem that way to the person who’s experiencing it,” he says.

“And rather than having a situation where there’s an identifiable bully and an identifiable victim, fairly often we have much more complicated relationships where people may play the roles of bully, victim and witness at different times.

“We see that a lot of the bullying that’s happening is reciprocal and these bullying situations are much more complex than our understanding of bullying would suggest.”

Johnson also says that most students who reported being bullied online claimed it wasn’t a major issue for them.

Of the 37 per cent who said they have been cyberbullying victims, 70 per cent said it was never or rarely a problem. Meanwhile, 21 per cent said the bullying behaviour was sometimes a problem, and nine per cent said it was often an issue.

“I don’t want to give the sense that cyberbullying is not an issue, because there clearly is a certain number of kids for whom it is a significant issue and for a number of kids it’s a very significant issue,” Johnson says.

“But what this tells us is we have to be much more nuanced in how we respond to cyberbullying.”

———

Read the report: “Young Canadians in a Wired World, Phase III: Cyberbullying: Dealing with Online Meanness, Cruelty and Threats” http://bit.ly/1fWkqDi

Just Posted

WATCH: Property taxes in Red Deer will go up 2.02 per cent in 2018

City council passes a “tough” budget that maintains most service levels

Red Deer councillor balks at city getting stuck with more funding responsibilities

Volunteer Central seeks municipal funding after being cut off by government

Olds chicken barn burns to the ground, no livestock harmed

More than 100,000 chickens were saved as fire crews prevent the blaze from spreading

Bear video meant to promote conservation: zoo owner

Discovery Wildlife Park says it will look at other ways to promote its conservation message

Red Deer’s Soundhouse closing its doors on Record Store Day

The owners of The Soundhouse want to shut down their store on… Continue reading

NorAm Western Canadian Cross Country Ski Championships begin in Red Deer

The biggest cross-country skiing competition in Red Deer’s history is underway. Nearly… Continue reading

In photos: Get ready for Western Canadian Championships

Haywood NorAm Western Canadian Championships and Peavey Mart Alberta Cup 5/6 start… Continue reading

WATCH: Red Deer city council debates cost-savings versus quality of life

Majority of councillors decide certain services are worth preserving

Got milk? Highway reopened near Millet

A southbound truck hauling milk and cartons collided with a bridge

Stettler’s newest residents overcame fear, bloodshed to come here

Daniel Kwizera, Diane Mukasine and kids now permanent residents

Giddy up: Red Deer to host Canadian Finals Rodeo in 2018

The CFR is expected to bring $20-30 million annually to Red Deer and region

Ice dancers Virtue and Moir to carry flag at Pyeongchang Olympics

Not since Kurt Browning at the 1994 Lillehammer Games has a figure… Continue reading

Beer Canada calls on feds to axe increasing beer tax as consumption trends down

OTTAWA — A trade association for Canada’s beer industry wants the federal… Continue reading

Most Read


Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month