Families have a new provincial resource to help identify and deal with bullying and cyberbullying.
Ramona Jennex, Minister of Education and Early Childhood Development, gave details about the parent handbook on bullying and cyberbullying at the Speak Up! Anti-bullying Conference in Halifax today, Aug.
“We want families to have the information they need to support healthy relationships and safe schools,” said Ms. Jennex. “The handbook will help parents and guardians recognize and respond to bullying and cyberbullying behaviour.”
Conference participants received the handbook titled, Bullying and Cyberbullying: What we need to know, a reference for parents and guardians, today and this resource will be distributed to families once school starts in September.
“Many parents don’t know what to watch for or what to do if their child is involved in bullying behavior,” said Ms. Jennex. “I look forward to providing a resource that will encourage conversations and help families deal with bullying in schools and communities.”
“Parents want answers to the tough parenting questions, like ‘What do I do if my child is being bullied?’ and, more importantly, ‘What do I do if my child is bullying?’,” said Tina Hennigar, parent of a 12-year-old in Mahone Bay.
“All parents must be informed that cyberbullying is a criminal offence and that if their child participates in cyberbullying, they can be charged. It’s up to us to report it and to hold people accountable.”
The handbook includes information on causes and types of bullying at various ages, how to identify bullying behaviour, how parents can help, and where to turn for help in the school system and in the community.
“Nova Scotia has developed an excellent resource for parents,” said Debra Pepler, a psychology professor at York University and co-founder of PREVNet, Canada’s leading authority on research and resources for bullying prevention. “It’s a comprehensive, practical, and positive guide for parents to deal with bullying and cyberbullying.”
The handbook is online at www.antibullying.novascotia.ca. The website also includes a parent area that has links to organizations and programs that deal with bullying, Internet safety, adolescent mental health, and other issues affecting youth.