Halton Hills and North Halton newspapers
Opinion: Parents must help in battling bullying
Independent & Free Press (Georgetown, ON), 28 Feb 2007, p. 6

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Is your child a cyber-bully or the member of a fight club? Or perhaps he/she is the victim of this technologydriven, sick form of entertainment among some of today's youth. While we think it's great news that Halton Police are teaming up with the region's two publicly-funded school boards to combat cyber-bullying activity, there's a third party that needs to be part of the solution-- the parent. Halton Police report that acts of cyber-bullying-- often involving viciously violent attacks on unsuspecting students by schoolmates-- are being recorded with videophones and posted on the popular site YouTube with greater frequency. While some of this disturbing footage involves fight clubs-- groups that gather to engage in so-called consenual fighting-- police note that this kind of activity is illegal as soon as anyone is seriously injured. "No one can consent to bodily harm," said Sgt. Peter Payne, public affairs officer for Halton Police. "So if two people consent to a fight and one of them subsequently becomes injured in more than a minor way... then the individual that caused the injury would be liable for a charge of assault." While some of these planned fights are taking place on school property, at least one Halton Police are aware of was hosted in the backyard of a Halton residence. For this reason, parents need to be an active part of uncovering suspected incidents of cyber-bullying and fight club activity. We need to better acquaint ourselves with the everevolving technology around us that allows our children to capture video and still images on pocket-sized electronic devices such as cellphones. As Halton schools become more aware of student abuse of computer equipment to post these disturbing video images online, so too must parents become proactive in their monitoring of cellphone and home computer use. If left unchecked, incidents of cyber-bullying have the potential to escalate to a lethal outcome. By either taking away or, at least, monitoring the use of technology that makes cyber-bullying possible, we may be able to prevent such a senseless tragedy.

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28 Feb 2007
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Payne, Peter
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Halton Police
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Opinion: Parents must help in battling bullying