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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

Fully vaccinated with negative tests in hand, Calgary mom and daughters forced into quarantine on return to Canada

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This article consists of the facebook posts of Calgary mother Tiffany Gaura.  Tiffany and her two daughters happened to be travelling home from a visit with her husband who is working in Cairo, when the Canadian government announced strict travel restrictions against those traveling from ‘some’ countries where the new Omicron virus has been found.  Gaura has given us permission to use her posts in this article and has filled in a few small gaps for us.  She’s hoping Canadian officials will show more flexibility, especially considering they’ve established restrictions on travellers coming from only a select few of the countries where Omicron has turned up.  Gaura is especially frustrated since Omicron is already in Canada and travellers from Europe and the United States are not quarantined on arrival. 

Day 1 –  Dec 4, 6:37 PM – Shock and Awe

This is a tough post for me. Today we traveled back to Canada from Cairo. We came early to complete the new quarantine requirement given Egypt has been listed as a “Country of Concern”. I am FULLY VACCINATED. We had PCR tests in Cairo and Frankfurt. We have an empty home to go to here in Calgary.
Upon arrival in YYC, we were taken by CBSA (Canadian Border Services) to PHAC (Public Health Canada) screening. It was a 15 minute interrogation about my history with Covid (none), my plans in Canada and my testing and vaccination. They read me my rights and told me I was entitled to a lawyer. They told me the fine for breaking quarantine is up to $750,000. We had a dedicated escort throughout, ensuring we weren’t escaping. Secondary unexplained screening at customs, and a PCR on arrival. We weren’t allowed to make any stops or get anything to eat or drink. The whole process took about 2 hours.
We were transported in a dedicated vehicle to the Westin Airport Hotel in Calgary. The Government of Canada as contracted the entire hotel as a “secure quarantine location”. The parking lot is blocked with No Trespassing signs. We were met by the Red Cross of Canada employees in HazMat suits.
We were processed and taken to an isolation floor. We cannot go outside. We cannot leave our room. We cannot get deliveries or packages. We cannot consume anything from offsite. We only get the meals they send us (it’s now 6:30pm and we have not had anything to eat or drink since we landed at 3pm). They have no cups for water in the room. I requested some but to no avail. Once we get our test results (presumably negative, and can take up to 72 hours) we must contact the Red Cross who will coordinate with Quarantine Officers for our release, that can take 48 hours (they say). They will provide us dedicated transport to our quarantine location (our home) where we must complete our 14 days in isolation. We must also take another test on Day 8.
This is happening, right now, in Canada, two years into a pandemic to vaccinated individuals. I don’t have the words to express this well. I waver back and forth between rage, embarrassment and disbelief. This will change my life, I have no doubt.

Day 2 – Dec 5, 11:17 AM = Frustration sets in

Next time you think about making a donation to the Canadian Red Cross, keep in mind that your donation dollars are going to things like supervising fully vaccinated travellers in mandatory government quarantine facilities. I’m sure there are other organizations that could use your money.

Day 3.- Dec 6. 11:22 AM = Canadian Quarantine for Fully Vaccinated Travelers With Negative Covid Tests

– We still have no PCR results, because apparently in Canada it takes 72 hours to get results in 2021. Or maybe they just want us to stay here longer. 🤔
– The food is horrible. It arrives cold and has limited nutritional value. It’s not FoodSafe for sure. I may call public health.
– No fruits or vegetables (aside from potatoes). No beverages are offered, so it’s tap water for the win. No wait, I did get some coffee filters and packaged creamer. It’s gross.
– The hotel gives a number for people to call so they can speak to us BUT they won’t actually put any calls through to our room. When you call they just say they will pass the message on to the Red Cross who will send us the message
– The kids are going stir crazy. No fresh air, no physical activity. We are doing yoga and school work, I brought a few card games, but that can only fill so many hours of the day with no space or freedom to roam.
– We have only one bed in the hotel room so we all sleep together.
– I asked for tampons, it took 24 hours to receive them.
– We have a window to nothing. Can’t see the parking lot or any coming and goings from the site. I wonder if they give rooms that have a view to that.
This interview was conducted by the CBC while Tiffany and her children were still in quarantine. 

Day 4 – Dec 7 – Third Negative Test Results Finally Come After More Than 3 Days.

4 days in quarantine.   We left when we got our results. I made a choice to leave after I was unable to contact anyone at either PHAC or the Red Cross who could give us any information about being released by a quarantine office.

This interview was conducted by the CTV in the hours after Tiffany and her children returned home after 4 days in quarantine.

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Alberta

Politicians raise concerns about carbon pricing benefits given to oilsands companies

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EDMONTON — Federal and provincial politicians are raising questions about Alberta government support provided to profitable oilsands companies that say carbon pricing hurts their competitiveness.

A recently released Alberta government document lists oilsands producers that have benefitted from a 2018 program designed to soften the blow of carbon pricing for companies whose competitors don’t pay those costs.

The program allows successful applicants to meet reduction targets through a greater emphasis on offsets, apply for emissions reduction grants or simply emit more carbon.

The document shows the only company that has benefitted from the program every year between 2018 and 2020 is Canadian Natural Resources Limited, which declared more than $2 billion in profits in the third quarter of 2021.

Alberta New Democrat environment critic Marlin Schmidt says the province must be more transparent, pointing out the document doesn’t say what benefits CNRL received, how big they were or how they were justified.

Federal Environment Minister Steven Guilbeault says his office is looking into how the program was used.

He says if problems are found, it could have an effect on the agreement between Alberta and Ottawa on carbon pricing.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 8, 2021.

The Canadian Press

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