Why are so many boys so sure they can get away with rape? Or learning that their status is enhanced by sharing photo-documentary evidence of their actions? As one boy asked at a recent talk I gave: "How is forwarding a picture a girl sends me of herself different from forwarding a picture of my toaster?"
Parents please continue to learn about the story attached to Amanda Todd and today do not hesitate to talk to your children about the new story of Rehtaeh Parsons. Talk to your children about mental health, talking about social media is the first step in educating your kids about social media safety and outline your expectations about how your children will utilise this powerful tool for communication.
Since Manitoba's religious schools receive over 50 per cent of their funding from the province, they are all being mandated to comply with the proposed legislation: Bill 18 -- required to implement an anti-bullying strategy that includes gay-straight alliances. Our rights cannot exist in a vacuum, isolated from the reality around them. Rights engage with other rights. Not only does our Charter have a built-in provision to permit the limiting of rights in certain situations, but also, the transactional nature of our public lives dictates that different rights will come into contact other rights. Those who oppose Bill 18 should read the Charter in its entirety; it doesn't stop at freedom of religion, nor is there a hierarchy of rights.
Our country prides itself on being a multicultural society -- no moral absolutes for us. Unfortunately, we threw out the most important moral absolute bequeathed to us. The absolute we learned from the answer to the question, "Am I my brother's keeper?" And the answer is "Yes!"
Kids can be mean. Perhaps it's part of their exploration of boundaries and their power in social circles. As parents, we can teach our own kids the importance of kindness, respect and treating others as we want them to be treated. And, we can guide them to stand up to bullies.
Amanda Todd's suicide has stopped all parents, educators and politicians in their tracks. How could she have made such a public plea for help and still not be saved? What I do is write music with positive messages, to empower today's kids to be the best people they can be. In fact, through my kids pop act, Marlowe & the MiX, I've seen how one powerful song can change a child's mood, perspective and path.
According to research, as well as my own personal and professional experience, the key to a happy childhood is mentorship. Kids who have a positive role model in their lives are more likely to succeed academically and develop healthy lifestyles.
The benefits of social media (SM) in connecting users worldwide are well known, and we ourselves have cheered the democratization of knowledge and information sharing. However, the proliferations of SM access to an increasingly younger demographic is most worrisome. Our concern is with young SM users, the estimated 200 million under 17 users of Facebook and similar sites. Amanda Todd's call for help burns our senses and we shout a cry. And a challenge.
We are a community of concerned citizens in British Columbia, including Amanda Todd's mother. As you may know, Amanda was contacted and blackmailed through Facebook by an adult predator who impersonated local teens to enter her circles of friends. We appeal to you as COO of Facebook, a mother, a visionary digital media leader, and member of the board of The Walt Disney Company, to lead industry-wide adoption of systemic security to block predators and abusers from accessing kids on major social media platforms, starting with Facebook itself.
I worked hard, I believed I could be anything I wanted until I was 14. I remember feeling sick when I walked into the halls of my new school. I was made fun of for trying hard, I was made fun of for being too happy. I made some friends here and there, stood around with the misfits, the awkward misunderstoods. But looking back I knew we all were.
This year we see one issue weighing on young people more than any other: bullying. After the event, we shared a moment with the mother of the B.C. teen who had taken her life to offer our condolences. The grieving mother told us she hoped her daughter's tragedy would prove a tipping point. We believe it has.
When a person passes away, their social media presence lives on. We see this every day with each passing, especially when the nature of death is interesting enough for media to seek the Facebook profile or Twitter account to source photos or posts for the corresponding story.
It has been just over a week since Amanda Todd's tragic and heart-breaking suicide, which she committed to end the pain from the endless torment of the bullies in her life. We deservedly feel guilt and shame over Amanda's fate and our inaction as bystanders to other cases of bullying. But the desire to do something, and perhaps to relieve our sense of guilt, should not lead us to precipitously arrest every bully.
I will never forget how excited I was to be invited to watch a movie with the popular boy I liked. I primped for hours. (I was, after all, a teenager grappling with my own new sexuality.) When I got there, he did not put on the movie we agreed to watch, but a porn film. I had never seen one before. He unzipped his pants, pushed and pulled at me. I cried the whole walk home. We don't talk honestly enough about what it's like being a teen girl, or what it can be like. If we did talk about it, what it was like for us, perhaps we wouldn't be so harsh on them. Perhaps we'd see their lives for the small and large violations they're often made up of; and what those violations do.
With the recent, tragic, and unnecessary death of bullying victim Amanda Todd, I believe that it is time to talk about suicide openly. Having the nation begin to talk about bullying and suicide prevention should have happened a long time ago. I am sad that it has taken an end to a life to begin talking about suicide so openly but it is something we must talk about to prevent it.
Six years ago, 13-year-old Steven Urry hanged himself in his bedroom closet after being tormented by bullies.