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Alberta

Four tips for preventing and handling Cyberbullying

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This article is published with permission from SOS SAFETY MAGAZINE.

NOVEMBER 30, 2019

Growing up in the digital age has both pros and cons. On one hand, your child has access to an enormous amount of information that can guide their learning and connect them with many opportunities. On the other hand, there are people who use the internet with cruel intent to harm others with minimal or no consequences.

Cyberbullying is one of the negative effects of being able to access the internet at our fingertips. Bullying that was once done at school and could be monitored is now happening at all times online.

To help prevent cyberbullying and properly handle cases of online harassment, here are 4 suggestions for parents to consider.

  1. Create Awareness

While kids may be aware that cyberbullying is occurring, parents are often left in the dark. Panda Security found that 76% of parents claimed their child has never been cyberbullied.

While such a large percentage of parents don’t think their child is being cyberbullied, stats on cyberbullying tell an entirely different story. The National Crime Prevention Center reported that 43% of teens were victims of cyberbullying in the last year and Pew Research Center found that 59% of teens have been a target of cyberbullying.

There is a clear gap between how often parents think cyberbullying is occurring and how much it actually is. In order to close this gap, there needs to be more awareness and understanding of the topic.

  1. Report Cyberbullies

With a screen hiding their identity, cyberbullies feel safe to harass without consequences. To combat this, we must encourage kids to report cyberbullies. There are a few reasons these bullies aren’t reported.

To start, there is a fear of retaliation. Kids would rather keep quiet than be labelled a snitch or accidentally encourage the bully to take further action. Many cyberbullies are kids from school so they may also fear an in-school issue if they report the online issue.

In addition to this, kids feel ashamed. Being a victim of mean comments can be embarrassing and hard to bring up to adults. Bullies play on people’s insecurities on purpose so that people will be less likely to report them.

While these worries and concerns aren’t something you, as a parent, can control, you can control your reaction when your child tells you about a bully. A common fear many kids have is of how an adult will react or if they will be believed. Reassuring your child of your support will help them feel comfortable reporting these cyberbullies.

  1. Take the Right Action

If your child told you they were cyberbullied, how would you react? When surveyed about reacting to a cyberbully on social media, 73% of parents said they would block the bully’s profile, 56% would report them to the social platform and 50% would file a complaint with the school.

While 58% of parents would reach out to the bully’s parents, only 24% would reach out to the bully directly. This shows that there may not be a proper consequence given to the bully.

Taking the right action is important so that the bully knows what they did is wrong. If the cyberbully isn’t directly addressed and reported, they could continue harassing other kids. Be sure you’re aware of the laws and regulations for bullying in your state.

  1. Have Open Conversations

One of the most important things you can do is to have an open conversation with your child about cyberbullying. Panda Security found that 41% of parents have never had a conversation with their child about bullying. Of these parents who haven’t had a conversation with their kids about cyberbullying, 51% were dads and 65% were moms.

Parents would rather regulate their children’s online activity than have an open discussion with them. While regulations can help, there are many ways that kids can get around them. In addition, online monitoring doesn’t catch everything.

Keeping an open dialogue about bullying will help your kids feel more comfortable coming to you if there ever is an issue. Taking this preventative measure is healthier than simply being reactionary.

To open up this conversation, here are 8 suggestions for talking about cyberbullying. 

  • Talk about how you read about a rise in cyberbullying and stats that go along with it.
  • Discuss examples of cyberbullying that you’ve witnessed or heard of.
  • Ask if your kid has witnessed cyberbullying. Rather than directly asking if they have been a victim, let them open up about a friend or classmate.
  • Assure them that if they were cyberbullying you would want to know so that you could support them.
  • Let them know your policy on cyberbullying. What exactly would you do if they were cyberbullied and what would you do if they were caught being a bully.
  • Emphasize how important it is to keep their device safe and secure.
  • Be open with them about how you plan on monitoring their device to keep it safe.
  • Ensure that your child knows that they have your support and you’re on their team.

Cyberbullying is an issue that many parents are facing or might face in the future. Being prepared and letting your child know you are there for them can make all the difference.

Learn more about SOS Safety Magazine, an amazing free resource in our community.

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Alberta

NEW Edmonton Baseball Mystery

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NEW Edmonton Baseball Mystery

Unless there’s a sudden burst in the amount of information being released by those who speak for the Edmonton Prospects and the still-unnamed baseball team recently established as the new operators of Re/Max Field,  a lot of guessing will be going on for at least a little longer.

The mystery: will there really be two university-level baseball teams in the Edmonton area next year?

Up to this point, Pat Cassidy’s Prospects have received most of the public attention after being ousted from their previous home in an apparent ‘hostile takeover” engineered by Randy Gregg and his followers. Cassidy’s biggest announcement came with details and probable pictures of what a new stadium will look like when it opens as the Prospects’ home in nearby Spruce Grove. The Gregg group, as usual, stayed silent.

On Thursday, however, entrepreneur Dale Wishewan, founder of the powerful Booster Juice franchise, went public. He is part of the group – also including Gregg’s brother Gary – that outlasted the Prospects in a fierce confrontation over which organization would receive city council blessing to operate at Re/Max.

Wishewan promised quick and positive news about where the new team would find a home. One unconfirmed guess: the 12-team Western Baseball Association, which has two teams — Kelowna and Victoria – opposing foes from Washington and Oregon.

A call to one number on the WBA website was not answered.

The Prospects are part of the Western Canada Baseball League, based entirely in Alberta and Saskatchewan. Operators have determined, so far at least, that there is no room for any newcomer intruding on the space of current members.

Wishewan, one of several minority owners tied to the NHL’s Vegas Knights, has been a lifetime baseball fan. At a young age, he played in and around tiny Waskatenau and Smoky Lake County, about 90 miles from Edmonton, then progressed to college ball in Oregon.

His interest in baseball became obvious at least a year ago when an Edmonton lawyer organized a meeting for discussion of some small hope that Edmonton might rejoin the Triple-A Pacific Coast League and let participants know that Wishewan was among those likely to attend. He did not appear, but his recent comments reaffirm his love of baseball.

“There’s a pretty big announcement that we want to make in the next few weeks,” he said. “It’ll be the best calibre of baseball that’s come to Edmonton in years.”

If in fact the Western Baseball Association heads this way, plenty of positive noise can be expected. One WBA player, a Washington product, was taken in the first round of the recent Major League draft. The website says it is common for WBA players to go in high rounds of the MLB selection process.

Cassidy, careful once again to avoid more heat on the Re/Max issue that forced the Prospects to find a new home, refused to comment on Wishewan’s statement.

 “There is nothing I can say that will affect what will or will not happen,” he said. “It would be interesting to see the difference in the fans’ approach – Canadian teams playing here with a lot of Canadian content, or American cities that may have no Canadian kids at all.”

As always in conflicts such as this, hard feelings can be expected to linger on all sides. One welcome possibility comes to mind: over time, how attractive would a western college playoff – WCBL vs. WBA – become in the public’s view?

Neither Cassidy nor Wishewan was asked for an answer to this hypothetical question.

Fast Action, And Fair So Far

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Alberta

Alberta politicians swap charges of bullying, misogyny after member ejected

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EDMONTON — Alberta’s Opposition NDP tried and failed Thursday to censure the deputy speaker for evicting one of their members from the house in a day that saw both sides accuse each other of belittling and marginalizing women in politics.

The governing United Conservatives voted down an NDP motion to discuss whether deputy Speaker Nicholas Milliken should still have his job after he ordered NDP member Marie Renaud out of the chamber during debate the evening prior.

Milliken ejected Renaud after she accused UCP members of trying to intimidate her through gestures while she was standing to speak to a bill.

Milliken said Renaud’s comments imputed unfair motives and were disrupting the house, and ordered her to withdraw the comments and apologize.

Renaud withdrew the remarks but would not apologize and was evicted for the balance of the night.

On Thursday, Renaud told reporters she faced mocking gestures, stares and facial expressions to try to throw her off balance during her speech.

“It happens frequently to a lot of women in our caucus. And last night was just bad and I called it out,” said Renaud.

Milliken is a United Conservative backbencher but is expected to be impartial when directing debate from the Speaker’s chair.

NDP house leader Heather Sweet said the NDP made the motion because Milliken failed to not only address Renaud’s concerns but focused the blame on her, calling into question his impartiality.

“It affects every single member from having the ability to stand in this house and to be able to feel freely without harassment to debate with the intent of having the Speaker be a neutral, non-partisan body,” Sweet told Speaker Nathan Cooper in making the motion.

UCP backbencher Laila Goodridge challenged Renaud, telling the house that bullying and intimidation can’t be countenanced but heckling is a part of politics, and having someone focus their attention on you in the house is respectful and appropriate.

“We need to be careful not to label everything and everyone we don’t like as bullying. Not liking something does not make it bullying,” said Goodridge.

“I would suggest that if someone doesn’t want people looking at them when they speak, perhaps they’re not in the right field.”

The debate was the capstone to a Wednesday that saw typical attacks, insults and angry hyperbole between the NDP and UCP boil over. It even dragged in the memory of former British prime minister Margaret Thatcher.

During debate of a bill that would allow non-constitutional referendums, NDP member Marlin Schmidt pointed out that even conservative icon Thatcher had concerns that referendums can be twisted to curtail minority rights.

“Just let me say that I am no fan of Margaret Thatcher,” Schmidt added.

“If nothing else goes right for me in a day, I can at least count on enjoying the fact that Margaret Thatcher is still dead. And the only thing I regret about Margaret Thatcher’s death is that it happened probably 30 years too late.”

At the direction of the Speaker, Schmidt apologized and withdrew the remarks.

On Thursday, UCP backbencher Miranda Rosin told the house that Schmidt’s remarks make it difficult for women to enter politics.

“The disgusting comments we heard, which celebrated the death of the greatest female leader in the 20th century … will not be encouraging to any woman who wishes to seek elected office,” said Rosin.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 9, 2020

Dean Bennett, The Canadian Press

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