Cyberbullying in schools: national poll shows Canadians' growing awareness



    MONCTON, July 11 /CNW Telbec/ - Three-quarters of Canadians are aware of
the term "cyberbullying", according to a national poll commissioned by the
Canadian Teachers' Federation (CTF).
    "This heightened public awareness around cyberbullying strengthens our
resolve to address this issue which we believe is becoming an increasingly
serious problem in our schools and society," says CTF President Emily Noble.
    The poll further shows that 34% of Canadians surveyed knew of students in
their community who had been targeted by cyberbullying in the past year while
one in five was aware of teachers who had been cyberbullied. The poll also
shows that almost one in 10 knew someone close to them who had been
cyberbullied.
    "We want to reverse this growing trend, and support measures and
education programs that promote proper cyberconduct," says Noble.
"Cyberbullying and harassment on the Web doesn't just affect kids. Many
teachers have been targeted by cyberbullying or harassment on the Internet.
This is why more has to be done to educate youth and the wider community about
this growing societal problem."
    According to the CTF policy proposal, cyberbullying is the use of
information and communication technologies to bully, embarrass, threaten or
harass another. It also includes the use of these technologies to engage in
conduct or behaviour that is derogatory, defamatory, degrading, illegal or
abusive.

    
    Other key findings of the CTF poll:

    - 9 in 10 Canadians believe that an effective measure to prevent
      cyberbullying by students is for parents to become more knowledgeable
      and more responsible in monitoring their child's activities with the
      Internet and electronic communication devices;
    - 86% believe that an effective measure to prevent cyberbullying by
      students is to have teachers trained to respond to cyberbullying when
      it impacts them or their students;
    - 96% believe that school boards should develop and enforce policies that
      hold their students accountable when they are identified as
      cyberbullies;
    - About 7 in 10 Canadians think that school boards should hold students
      accountable when the cyberbullying originates outside the school, such
      as from the student's home.
    

    "When it comes to instilling proper cyberconduct and preventing
cyberbullying in schools, we all have a role to play," explains CTF President
Emily Noble. "In the past 12 months, the Canadian Teachers' Federation has
taken a leadership role by rolling out an action plan, preparing policy and
seizing every opportunity to educate the public, governments, media and
education partners about the seriousness of cyberbullying.
    "Tomorrow, we are holding a special session during our Annual General
Meeting to discuss the issue of cyberbullying and to adopt a leading-edge
national policy on cyberconduct and cyberbullying," adds Noble. "The guiding
principles of our National Policy are based on the premise that safe and
caring schools that promote healthy workplaces for teachers and healthy
learning environments for children and youth should be a national priority.
Our policy speaks strongly to the need for education as a key element in
addressing, preventing and protecting students and teachers from cyber-related
harm. It also speaks to the roles and responsibilities of parents and
guardians, schools, school boards and school districts, teachers, students,
teacher organizations, ministries of education and government."

    CTF will hold a special session on cyberbullying at 9 a.m., July 12, at
    the Delta Beauséjour in Moncton, N.B.

    The National Issues in Education Poll, commissioned by CTF every two
years, examines the public's views and opinions on public education in Canada.
The poll was conducted online by Vector Research + Development Inc. from Feb.
27 to March 11, 2008, with 2,523 Canadians throughout the country.
    CTF speaks for 220,000 teachers in Canada as their national voice on
education and related social issues. CTF membership includes Member
organizations in every province and territory in Canada as well as an
Affiliate Member in Ontario. CTF (http://www.ctf-fce.ca) is also a member of
the international body of teachers, Education International
(http://www.ei-ie.org).




For further information:

For further information: Comments: Emily Noble, CTF President, (613)
899-4209 (cell); Background Information: Myles Ellis, Director of Economic and
Member Services, (613) 899-4213; Media Contact: Francine Filion, Director of
Communications, (613) 688-4314 until July 9 and (613) 899-4247 (cell)


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