HALIFAX ÂThe province continues its efforts to educate Nova Scotians about the effects of cyberbullying by introducing a new information sheet about responsible cellphone use.
Providing people with information on responsible cellphone use when they agree to a contract was identified as an action item in the province's anti-bullying action plan. The plan, released in February, looks at the root causes of bullying and cyberbullying.
"We know that bullying existed long before cellphones and social media," said Education and Early Childhood Development Minister Ramona Jennex. "We must remember that cyberbullying is just a new medium for an old problem.
"It's important to know how to be good digital citizens who understand and take responsibility for how our decisions and behaviours affect others in the digital world."
The information sheet is part of amendments to the Consumer Protection Act around fairness in cellphone contracts and responsible cellphone use introduced in the legislature in spring 2012.
"Protecting Nova Scotians isn't just about fair cellphone contracts," said Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations Minister John MacDonell. "Cyberbullying is one of the greatest dangers facing Nova Scotians in the digital world.
"Promoting responsible cellphone use is another way the province is working to protect consumers in Nova Scotia."
Cellphones allow people to remain anonymous when sending messages. This sense of, no one knows it is me, may make it easier to be more hurtful and say things people normally would not say to a person's face.
"As a provider of Internet and advanced wireless services, Eastlink takes very seriously the critical issue of cyberbullying and its impact on the lives of so many Canadians," said Eastlink CEO Lee Bragg. "We believe telecommunications service providers can play a key role in helping Canadians understand communications technology and how to use it safely and responsibly.
"The province's information sheet provides valuable information in this regard and we are pleased to make it available to our customers and on our website. We also look forward to working with the province on future cyberbullying initiatives."
To get a copy of Unlike Cyberbullying: Be A Responsible Digital Citizen, or to download Speak Up, An Action Plan to Address Bullying and Cyberbullying Behaviour, visit www.ednet.ns.ca or www.unlikecyberbullying.ca .
Cellphone service providers will be required to provide the one-page sheet, which is available in English and French, to customers as of May 1.