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