Listening and Learning with Children to Stop Cyberbullying…An International Conference

cyberbullying summit 2Representatives from Facebook, LinkedIn, Microsoft and Google attended the Prince Edward Island Summit to Listen to and to share with children..

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Parry Aftab went to the places where children learn and she talked with, and listened to the children.

Parry has a touch with children and with adults.
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In my culture we call it a “Come to Jesus” moment, or maybe its an Oprah moment, or a Doctor Phil moment. It is a time when people feel comfortable enough to share their feelings because they feel that there is interest, there is support, there is a person wanting to make it right. So maybe it is really just a caring moment when support is perceived. Then, the stories come.
The children planned this conference with a lot of volunteers who put in hard time to create the moments.1412572_10152014583401327_381481874_o kids
The children came up with the plan for a conference that was stunning in its delivery to the educational community. This plan was created through meetings, creating videos and workshops with the children of Prince Edward Island. The program also used lots of media to broadcast to those who could not be there.
So maybe you saw me crying. I don’t know the tears just came.
Loving parents listening, law enforcement listened, and school representatives listened and learned.
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Barbara Colorosa, teaching us!!
We all learned a lot.

 Run by youth leaders from ten to 18, with invited experts, industry and policymakers. Using UN-expert summit format, we had  the goal of creating an action plan to address cyber-bullying problems by the end of the day. There were three plenary sessions, a luncheon speaker and one keynote. Sponsors and governmental representatives provided welcome remarks, along with a selected student.

There were three breakout sessions, mixing tracks to address cyber-bullying issues from a diverse perspective. These breakout sessions  addressed questions raised in the plenary and, through a facilitator, report back their findings to help frame the final  plenary session .

This conference is the beginning of an action plan.

An exhibit area showcasing student projects and Stop Cyber-bullying partners was set up to demonstrate student approaches to solving the issue. Student musicians, poets, artists and performing artists were showcased as well.

There is a toolkit for Educators on the Wired Safety site… go download it.

The Wired Safety site has lots of information for parents, teachers and children. i like this presentation in particular. This is one of a number of well crafted tools for people to use online.
In the conference we learned in different ways.
Most of us have been to conferences where a few experts, shared their stories , told of their projects, and
gave advice. This day was about the children and parents and their stories. Their school stories, their life stories, their stories about fitting in as new people in a community, or their digital divide stories. First nation groups participated as well.
Here is a quote that I love… because it tells the truth.
Sitting in the audience, I was prepared for a good cry. I had my tissues and my non run makeup… which by the way did not work. The meeting was real, the stories were from the heart and people learned from the stories. Not soap opera, or staged stories.. truth. Sometimes the truth hurts and we feel the  pain of others.
Parry and her co -host, a child mesmerized us all by taking us on a journey of many steps.

© Guardian photo by Jim Day

From the Guardian

Parry Aftab, executive director, speaks to students at Grace Christian School recently about cyberbullying.

Parry Aftab is confident that youth can come up with clever and effective ways to combat cyberbullying.She is in the process of rounded up some young, deep thinkers from right across the province. Aftab, the executive director of — a volunteer organization dedicated to online safety — is hitting P.E.I. schools to recruit thought leaders who are able to think outside of the box while also discussing cyberbullying issues with hundreds of students.


She has a special purpose in gathering together a good crop of thoughtful students: the 2013 International Stop Cyberbullying Youth Summit that was held in Charlottetown on Nov. 9.The handpicked Prince Edward Island students will be among some 400 students in total from grades 4 to 12 joined by about 200 adults at the youth summit. The count went out of control. It was a Saturday and the kids and parents came from everywhere.

The students, stresses Aftab, are the ones to turn to for answers to deal with the immense harm taking place in P.E.I. and around the world through cyberbullying — a growing practice Aftab describes as using digital technology as a weapon to hurt someone else.Industry leaders, including high-level representatives from Facebook, Microsoft and Google, Linked In attended the summit in the capital city. “Barbara Coloroso, one of the leading experts in the world on bullying waived her speaking fee to participate. Sharon Rosenfeld, who created Victims of Violence after notorious child killer Clifford Olson murdered her son, is also took part in the youth summit.A host of other stakeholders, from health-care professionals to law enforcement, were also be among the diverse delegates.

The key participants were students, says Aftab. This group, coming from a good cross-section of backgrounds and cultures, up front and  front and centre.”So when I turn to a sixth grader and say ‘What can we get from Facebook that will make my kids safer?’ and the kids give me answers, those answers are really relevant and they work because the kids are the ones in the midst of all of this,” she says.”So I am reaching out to the kids who are very good at facilitating ideas, thinking, brainstorming and I’m giving them all of the experts they could possibly need to pick from.

It is only a short walk from schoolyard bullying to hate crimes and then to genocide, says an international best-selling author on the subject.

© Mitch MacDonald – The Guardian

Author Barbara Coloroso was one of several experts who spoke at the International Stop Cyberbullying Youth Summit held at the Confederation Centre of the Arts in Charlottetown on Saturday.

Barbara Coloroso was one of the many experts who spoke at the International Stop Cyberbullying Youth Summit held at the Confederation Centre of the Arts in Charlottetown this past weekend.Coloroso said bullying is a learned behaviour involving having contempt for another human being.“And once I have contempt for you, I can do anything to you and not feel any shame or compassion,” Coloroso said.“There are bullied bullies, kids who have been targeted. But there are also high-status social bullies who have a sense of entitlement … they actually feel very good and have made the other person into a non-entity. I tell kids that you don’t have to like every kid but you must honour their humanity and treat them with dignity and regard.”Coloroso is a best-selling author, recognized speaker and consultant who has appeared on Oprah, CBS, NBC, CNN, as well as in the New York Times, Time and other national and international publications.
The Lucas Foundation, Edutopia, sees what Parry is doing as building…

A Stronger Community #

The key work to be done is to bring the underground lives of teens above ground and build trust.

What a wonderful place that conference was.. I can still hear the chorus of child voices saying, we love you Parry! It was a sweet song of harmony.

School communities need to create partnerships with parents through developing shared language, social media agreements, intervention steps, proactive curricular development and media literacy.

Schools can start from a place of trust.