When it comes to discussion about cyberbullying, experts attribute responsibility to a range of groups and issues. One group that takes a lot of flak is parents. At best, the story goes, we’re naïve, incapable of understanding our children’s Internet use, and not responding with enough urgency. At worst, we are responsible for our children’s bullying behaviour or victimhood, even the cause of the problem.
In their 2012 study, Cyberbullying in Canada, the Senate Committee on Human Rights heard from numerous witnesses about the shortcomings of parents. Witnesses consistently recommended parent education – primarily about the Internet and cyberbullying. A few witnesses alluded to the fact that parents need support to parent well, but this support was largely framed in narrow terms of bullying education. There was virtually no mention of systemic barriers that may exacerbate the challenges of parenting, or broader social and economic pressures that get in the way of kids’ positive and healthy digital citizenship. Continue reading
Jane Bailey presents at the Senate Committee
It’s possible that, like many Canadians, you had no idea the Federal government was in the process of removing section 13, which provides redress for online “hate messages”, from the Canadian Human Rights Act. Bill C-304 An Act to amend to the Canadian Rights Act (protecting freedom) received Royal Assent on June 26, 2013 after a year of delay in the Senate.
On Tuesday June 25th, three feminist voices were invited to the Senate Standing Committee on Human Rights, to share their expertise in this area. Professor Jane Bailey presented alongside Professor Kathleen Mahoney (University of Calgary) and Jo-Ann Kolmes on behalf of LEAF. Together, these three made a compelling argument that removing section 13 altogether (as a response to its alleged shortcomings), is a retrograde step that widens existing gaps in our human rights protections, leaving some groups especially vulnerable. (For example, women and disabled persons are not protected by Criminal Code hate provisions.) We invite you to read Professor Bailey’s submission and LEAF’s submission to learn more.