Behind the Badge

Dal Hutchinson
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The dark side of the Internet

 

Hello Cumberland County! Last month, the Cumberland Interagency on Family Violence and the RCMP hosted a two-day workshop for service providers from all across Nova Scotia who work with victims of domestic violence.

The Neighbours, Friends and Family program was introduced to Nova Scotia at this time. Domestic violence against women is an issue in every community. This campaign will raise awareness of the signs of woman abuse so people who are close to an at-risk woman or an abusive man can help.

As neighbours, friends and family, we must become actively involved to help keep each other safe. It’s our responsibility. Don’t let the victimization continue. Reach out to a woman who you suspect is in an abusive relationship. Sometimes your effort and recognition is all it will take to assist her in getting the help that she needs.

The Internet has become a big part of everyone’s lives. Adults utilize it for work and personal purposes.

Children learn at an early age the many resources that it offers. We have been hearing a lot of the Internet being used inappropriately by others to threaten or slander another person. This is what we refer to as “cyberbullying.”

In today’s world our children are exposed to a great deal of issues that we could never have imagined 20 years ago - online predators, cyber bullies, people stealing their identity, and their reputations being slandered anonymously on the Internet.

Unfortunately, when we discuss cyberbullying, it usually consists of one or more youth targeting one of their peers. I’ve been in many of the 13 schools that the RCMP police in Cumberland County and have done presentations on cyberbullying and Internet safety.

What I find disturbing is that many of the children, Grades 3-12, indicated there is very little or no supervision while they surf the net. As well, that several say their computers are located in an isolated area (their bedroom) and their parents are unaware of what they are doing while online.

I encourage all parents to engage their children in discussion about online etiquette. Discuss the dangers that exist online. The days where we were warned of people lurking in the woods or back streets now consist of online predators who surf the net seeking an opportunity to engage a young boy or girl in inappropriate activities. If used properly, the Internet is a great tool.

Again, talk with your children, do not condone cyberbullying and if you are a victim or know of someone being bullied, tell your parent, teacher, trusted adult or the police. I encourage all adults and youth to go to the website www.deal.org It’s a great resource which addresses many issues the youth of today face.

As well, for those in need of support the Kids Help Phone is available at 1-800-668-6868. To all parents I ask that you engage in discussions with your children about the dangers of ostracizing, ridiculing, or being mean to another person.

As a community we need to help our children deal with their issues as they will be taking care of us someday.

 

Organizations: RCMP, Cumberland Interagency on Family Violence

Geographic location: Cumberland County, Nova Scotia

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