Primus Telecommunications Canada Inc.

Primus Telecommunications Canada Inc.

January 13, 2015 08:00 ET

How Times Have Changed: Cyberbullying Outranks Drugs, Teenage Pregnancy and Alcohol as a Top Concern of Canadian Parents

Primus partners with cyberbullying prevention experts at PREVNet to develop program to eliminate online bullying; seeking partner organization to pilot the program in 2015

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - Jan. 13, 2015) - Primus Telecommunications (Primus) is joining forces with PREVNet, the country's leading authority on bullying prevention, to develop an e-learning program designed for Canadian parents and adults to use with children and youth. With the goal of reducing the incidence of cyberbullying across the country, the program is scheduled to launch later this year and will be the first interactive resource of its kind.

"Our research clearly shows that online safety has become a top concern for parents across the country and our aim, as one of Canada's leading ISPs, is to help them understand how to deal with it - even before it becomes a problem," says Brad Fisher, Primus executive and online safety advocate. "By partnering with PREVNet, we can provide parents and adults working with youth a much-needed resource so they can turn their concerns into positive action. This program will arm them with the knowledge, skills, support and confidence they need to tackle this important issue and, most importantly, protect their kids."

Cyberbullying outranks drug use, teenage pregnancy and alcohol use as a major concern for parents.

According to the survey Protecting Canadian Families Online, conducted by Leger on behalf of Primus, parents are more concerned about cyberbullying (48 per cent) than they are about teen pregnancy (44 per cent), drug use (40 per cent) or alcohol use (38 per cent).

One in five parents admit to sharing intimate photos and/or messages online or via text.

Further, although 36 per cent of parents claim to be very worried about their child's image being shared without consent, one in five parents admit that they, themselves, have sent or received intimate photos and/or messages online or via text.

"This e-learning program will teach parents and youth alike that change is a two-way street," continues Fisher. "We believe that in launching the program, we can help adults and youth work together to define safe and appropriate online behaviour and put an end to online bullying."

Parents are educating their kids about cyberbullying; but are they doing it right?

Parents undertake a number of measures to keep their children safe online, with education leading the way; from teaching their children about the risks of sharing information such as pictures (68 per cent) to telling their kids not to interact online with people they don't know (61 per cent).

The survey also found that one in 10 parents admit to being aware their child, or one of their child's friends, has received images or messages online intended to hurt someone. For parents who learn that their child is being cyberbullied, education remains the primary form of defense. According to PREVNet, though, youth and adults may not be speaking the same language when it pertains to online communications and cyberbullying prevention.

"The rate of digital interactions will only increase as technology continues to evolve," explained Dr. Wendy Craig, Scientific Co-Director, PREVNet. "The challenge we all face as parents and adults working with youth - and this is something we hear consistently from youth - is that kids don't think their parents can help or protect them when it comes to cyberbullying. They don't see their parents as being savvy or as connected online, which is a problem that needs to be addressed and fixed."

Dr. Craig continued, "To address this issue, the e-learning program will give parents and adults the much-needed tools, resources, and strategies to spot the warning signs, initiate positive dialogue between family members and ultimately help children safely navigate the digital world. We are proud to partner with Primus to tackle this critical family issue and launch this groundbreaking Canadian initiative."

One in five parents admit to knowing their 'underage' children have Facebook accounts.

Nearly one in five parents (16 per cent) reported knowing their children between the ages of eight and 10 have a Facebook account, despite a 13-year age minimum in place for having an account.

Parents believe they are most responsible for their child's online safety.

The majority of parents (81 per cent) feel that they are most responsible for protecting their children from cyberbullying. Interestingly, Ontario parents (77 per cent) are significantly less likely than parents in Quebec (84 per cent) and Alberta (89 per cent) to assign primary responsibility for their children's safety to themselves. When parents were asked who else should be responsible for protecting their child they responded schools (54%), social media companies (41%), the government (31%) and friends (30%).

Details on the e-learning program.

While the e-learning program is in the early stages of development, the plan is that it will include resources for adult and child conversations, activities to be completed together, videos to encourage positive role modeling as well as built-in evaluation features to measure the effectiveness of the program.

Call for Greater Toronto Area-based organization to pilot the program.

Prior to a national roll out later this year, Primus and PREVNet plan to pilot the program with an organization in the Greater Toronto Area. This organization will be instrumental in providing valuable input into the program's final development.

The ideal partner is committed to improving the lives of families and their communities and works directly with youth. The organization can be a non-profit group, school, after school program, community centre or sports organization, to name a few. Those interested in participating or learning more about the program can visit primus.ca/elearning.

About the survey

The Protecting Canadian Families Online Survey was conducted using LegerWeb, Leger's online panel, from April 22 to April 28, 2014. The survey targeted parents from across Canada who have at least one child between the ages of 8-16 who have access to the Internet in their home. A probability sample of the same size (n=1000) would yield a margin of error of +/- 3.1%, 19 times out of 20.

About Primus Telecommunications Canada Inc.

Primus is the largest alternative telecommunications service provider in Canada. Primus offers a wide selection of consumer and business telecommunications services available nationwide including Home Phone, Internet, Long Distance, VoIP, Enterprise IP Voice Solutions, Hosted Phone Systems, (Hosted PBX), Dedicated Data Access and IP connectivity solutions. In the United States, Primus provides reliable and affordable digital home phone (VoIP) service under the Lingo brand. Primus was founded in 1997 and has over 600 employees located in offices across Canada including Vancouver, Toronto, Ottawa, London and Edmundston. For further information, visit primus.ca.

About PREVNet

PREVNet (Promoting Relationships and Eliminating Violence Network) is Canada's authority on research and resources for bullying prevention. PREVNet is an umbrella network of 125 leading Canadian research scientists along with their graduate students and emerging scholars, 29 universities, and 63 national child and youth-serving organizations. Launched in 2006 with the Networks of Centres of Excellence, PREVNet's mission is to stop bullying in Canada and to promote safe and healthy relationships for all Canadian children and youth. Led by Scientific Co-directors Dr. Debra Pepler of York University and Dr. Wendy Craig of Queen's University, this national network is the first of its kind in Canada, providing an unprecedented national opportunity for social-cultural change. For more information, tips on bullying prevention and resources visit www.prevnet.ca. You can find PREVNet on Twitter: @prevnet and Facebook.

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