Cyberbullying is when a child, preteen or teen is tormented, threatened, harassed, humiliated, embarrassed, or otherwise targeted by another child, preteen or teen using the Internet, interactive and digital technologies or mobile phones. Cyberbullying involves minors, once adults become involved, it is cyber-harassment or cyberstalking.
Cyberbullying is a crime
Some forms of online bullying are considered criminal acts. Under the Criminal Code of Canada, it’s a crime to communicate repeatedly with someone if your communication causes them to fear for their own safety or the safety of others. It's also a crime to publish a "defamatory libel" - writing something that is designed to insult a person or is likely to injure a person's reputation by exposing him or her to hatred, contempt, or ridicule.
A cyberbully may also be violating the Canadian Human Rights Act if he or she[AS1] spreads hate or discrimination based on race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, age, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, family status or disability.
How to report cyberbullying
Call 9-1-1 for any crimes in progress or urgent circumstances.
If you or your child has been the victim of an online crime, please call the Calgary Police Service non-emergency number at 403-266-1234 to report the crime.
Online sexual exploitation of children must be immediately reported the Calgary Police Service. Call 9-1-1 for any crimes in progress or life exigent circumstances or 403-266-1234 for the Calgary Police Service non-emergency line. You may also report crimes anonymously to the Canadian Centre for Child Protection or Calgary Crime Stoppers.
Cyberbullying resources for youth
- Kids Help Phone: every day, Kids Help Phone and Parent Help Line counsellors answer calls from across Canada. No matter the problem or concern, counsellors are available to provide support, information and referrals to a local community or social service agency.
- Calgary Connecteen: is a confidential peer support service for youth in Calgary and area provided by the Distress Centre.
Cyberbullying resources for parents
- MediaSmarts: a Canadian not-for-profit organization promoting digital and media literacy.
- BeWebAware: a national, bilingual, public education program on Internet safety developed and supported by MediaSmarts, Bell and Microsoft Canada.
- Cybertip.ca: a resource site that aims to protect children from online sexual exploitation.
- PREVNet: Canada’s healthy relationships hub: preventing interpersonal violence through research and practice. This site provides resources gathered by 130 different researchers, representing 30 different academic institutions across Canada.
- Parenting in a digital age: a resource site for parents including information on social media usage, digital citizenship and cyberbullying. This site is a partnership between PREVNet and University of British Columbia’s Dr. Jennifer Shapka sponsored by Primus.