A lot of people wanted me to teach them (the kids) about cyberbullying. I don’t need to, they know about cyberbullying. What they don’t know about is what they can do to get help and what they can do to help others and how they can stop it. That’s what we’re going to help them to understand.
This past weekend we had the pleasure to attend the very first International Stop Cyberbullying Youth Summit in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island. The Summit was attended by hundreds of young people as well as thousands of others via livestream and other social media platforms.
The event was run by youth leaders from ten to 18, hosted by executive director of stopcyberbullying.org, Parry Aftab, and co-hosted by Stratford Elementary School student Nicholas Carelse, 9.
I knew we were involved with something truly special when we attended a VIP supper the night before the event and sat beside a 12 year old named Hayley. Youth like her remind me how important it is to deal with cyberbullying and how it will our youth who make the difference. She talked about her research into the issue, her friends, and her own sad story about being bullied.
On the day of the event both myself and Rehtaeh’s mom Leah spoke before the group with Parry. We discussed the issues Rehtaeh experienced, her school, the cyberbullying, and what we felt should change. I was quoted in a newspaper article stating, “I believe Rehtaeh’s good friends, her true friends, were put in a situation where they didn’t know what to do. That’s why it’s so important to have summits like this and to have this conversation.” We hope that by sharing her story others can know what to do and help victims suffering through this awful problem.
During the question part of our talk a young lady stood up to share her story of attempting suicide. We hear this far to often. We heard it again later on from a mother whose daughter experienced a similar horror story as Rehtaeh did and her daughter wanted to kill herself because of it. It breaks my heart.
This Summit was important beyond words because it provided kids with the knowledge and tools to help. Often a friends support and voice can make all the difference in the world.
Thanks Hayley. Keep up the great work. You have the support of many wonderful people.
Summit Participants included:
- Build-A-Bear Workshop
- Barbara Coloroso
- First Nations
- Sharon Rosenfeldt (founder of Victims of Violence)
- Me and Leah – Rehtaeh’s mom and dad
The CBC National Report
Tweets about “stopcyberbullying”
A video I made driving to PEI