Bully Free Alberta


©2006 Media Awareness Network. Adapted with permission.

What is cyberbullying ?
What are the forms of cyberbullying ?
Cyberbullying and the law
The role of Internet service providers (ISPs) and cell phone service providers
Would you still be so brave ?

What is cyberbullying?

The Internet has created a whole new world of social communications for young people who are using e-mail, Web sites, instant messaging, chat rooms and text messaging (STM) to stay in touch with friends and make new ones.

While most interactions are positive, more and more teens are using these communication tools to antagonize, intimidate and hurt others. This is known as cyberbullying. And it is wrong.

The anonymity of online communications means teens feel freer to do things online they would never do in the real world. One in four Grade 7 students in an Alberta study reports being a victim of cyber-bullying.



What are the forms of cyberbullying?

There are several ways that young people bully others online. They do it by:
  • Sending e-mails or instant messages containing insults or threats directly to a person.

  • Spreading hateful comments about a person through e-mail, instant messaging or postings on Web sites and online diaries.

  • Stealing passwords and sending out threatening e-mails or instant messages using an
    assumed identity.

  • Building whole Web sites, often with password protection, to target specific students or teachers.



Cyberbullying and the law

Young people should be aware that some forms of online bullying are considered criminal acts. Under the Criminal Code of Canada, it is a crime to:
  • Communicate repeatedly with someone if your communication causes them to fear for their own safety or the safety of others.

  • Publish a "defamatory libel" - writing something that is designed to insult a person or likely to injure a person's reputation by exposing them to hatred, contempt or ridicule.

A cyberbully may also be violating the Canadian Human Rights Act, if they spread hate or discrimination based on race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, age, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, family status or disability.

Stop Hating Online

Watch the Government of Canada's cyberbullying prevention ad Stop Hating Online, and learn what online behaviour is against the law.



The role of Internet service providers (ISPs) and cell phone service providers

Internet service providers (ISPs) are the companies that provide Internet access to consumers. Most ISPs have Acceptable Use Policies (AUPs) that clearly define privileges and guidelines for those using their services, and the actions that can be taken if those guidelines are violated.

ISPs and cell phone service providers can respond to reports of cyberbullying over their networks, or help you track down the appropriate service provider to respond to.

For more information about cyberbullying please visit



Would you still be so brave?

Check out this heartfelt bullying prevention message created by students at Roland Michener Secondary School in Slave Lake, Alberta. The message presents a realistic view of bullying and contains coarse language. View the video.



Call the Bullying Helpline 1-888-456-2323 toll-free in Alberta, anytime.
Trained staff are available to help in more than 170 languages.

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2005 Government of Alberta

Freedom to Create. Spirit to Achieve.