Internet privacy and security lawyer, Parry Aftab observes M.E. Callaghan Intermediate School students role-playing in parent-child discussions about cyberbullying. Students from the school gave Atfab an earful recently on the prevalence of cyberbullying and what youth can do to resist it. Some will help her stage an international youth summit in Charlottetown on November 9.
PROFIT’S CORNER -- Students at M.E. Callaghan Intermediate School gave an internet safety expert an earful recently on the prevalence of cyberbullying, and what youth can do to resist it. Parry Aftab was at their school recruiting students for an international Stop Cyberbullying Youth Summit she is hosting in Charlottetown on November 9.
Aftab’s West Prince audience demonstrated to her they are well aware of cyberbullying and the harm it can cause, and they let her know they would like to contribute to her conference.
“Cyberbullying is where people on the internet are making fun of you, they’re saying stuff about you and they’re hurting you through the internet, because kids on the internet are able to say more things through a screen than to your face,” Grade 8 student Amber White summarized during a student assembly.
It’s a big issue, White said later, because it is happening to kids every day and they don’t deserve it. “It’s horrible,” she said.
An internet privacy and security lawyer, Aftab is one of five members on Facebook’s international safety board. She runs Stopcyberbullying.org, which she describes as the largest cyberbullying prevention website in the world.
She said top executives from Facebook, Google and Microsoft will all be in attendance at the conference but, most importantly, she insists, some 600 Island school children will be in attendance.
“It’s going to be webcast around the world. I have schools in South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Hong Kong, England and across the States and even out west who are going to be logging in online to watch live webcast and contribute by Twitter,” Aftab reported.
“What we need to do is recognize there are problems out there, but there are solutions, too,” she said, insisting internet executives will take notice.
“These are good ideas, these are the kind of ideas they would pay experts a lot of money to come up with. They are getting them free from the kids. It tells you what they’re thinking,” Aftab said of what she expects to come out of the conference. “The kids are their customers and their future of technology. If they’re not listening, they’re not going to be around in 10 years.”
Aftab acknowledged digital technology has the power to create problems, but she stressed that is far outweighed by its potential to spread good and build community.