Simon Fraser University Cyberbullying and Cyberstalking Discussion Questions

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Cyberbullying and Cyberstalking Overview In this lesson, you will learn about different types of crimes committed online, including cyberbullying, cyber vigilantes, and cyberstalking. We will discuss stories of victims of cyberbullying, the scope of the problem, and why children do not tend to tell adults when they are bullied online. You will learn about cyberbullying forms (e.g., exclusion) and methods (e.g., via social media). To better understand what laws can be applied to these types of cybercrime, you will read about parts of the Criminal Code of Canada that can be used to fight them. In this module, you will also learn about how to protect yourself against cyberstalking and the scope and nature of this problem. Learning Outcomes • • • Cyberbullying and relevant legislation and law enforcement responses The role of cyber vigilantes and their actions in identifying suspects Cyberstalking and how the criminal justice system can respond to cyberstalking cases Topic 1: Cyberbullying Introduction to Cyberbullying If you remember last week’s module, we examined child exploitation and human trafficking. These were different types of personal cybercrimes, most often committed by adults against children. In this week’s module, we are going to explore two additional personal cybercrimes – cyberbullying and cyberstalking. Unlike the personal cybercrimes we examined last week, cyberbullying and cyberstalking are most often committed by youth against other youth. Cyberbullying Statistics The image below represents statistics resulting from a Canada-wide study completed by the Standing Senate Committee on Human Rights (Links to an external site.) (2012). The numbers shown illustrate how pervasive cyberbullying is within Canada. We can see that 43% of kids report to have been bullied online at least once and in 25% of these cases, it occurred more than just once. Another concern illustrated in these findings is that 68% of youth agree that cyberbullying is a severe issue. Why don’t kids tell their parents? There are many reasons why children and youth may be reluctant to inform their parents, or other adults, about the abuse that they are experiencing online. They try to deal with the problem on their own, and many youth are not equipped to do so properly. What does Wayne MacKay (Chair of Nova Scotia Task Force on Bullying and Cyberbullying) say about this issue? In a Canada-wide study it was found that the number one reason young people did not tell adults, including their parents, about being bullied or cyberbullied was not what you would think -- it will get worse -- but rather fear of losing access to the Internet. "If I tell my parents, they will tell me to disconnect and it will be gone." Kids would rather put up with bullying than be disconnected from that important reality. Standing Senate Committee on Human Rights (2012) More Statistics Below are more recent statistics relating to cyberbullying in Canada and the United States (Dojchinovska, 2021 (Links to an external site.)). In the chart below, click on the different markers for more information about the statistics. + Parents believe that their children are being bullied at a higher rate than children report to being bullied. This may suggest that many youth do not come forward with reporting that they have been a victim of bullying. + 7% of all Canadians experience cyberbullying. This number represents all Canadians, not just youth. Given that the current population of Canada is approximately 38 million (Data Commons, 2022), this means that 2,660,000 Canadians experience cyberbullying! + When you think about the safety issues that you were worried about during your time in public school, what was your number one concern? 89% of teachers believe that cyberbullying is the number one safety issue in their school. This means that almost every teacher perceives cyberbullying to be a severe safety issue. The Story of Amanda Todd You may have heard about the tragic story of Amanda Todd. Amanda took her own life after being relentlessly cyberbullied by an older man. Amanda Todd was a 15-year-old resident of Port Coquitlam. She was harassed relentlessly online. Because of the severe harassment she faced, Amanda took her own life. Before her death, she created a YouTube video to tell the world her story (Dean, 2012). This is her story: “A few years ago, she was chatting with someone she met online, a man who flattered her. At his request, she flashed him. The man took a picture of her breasts. He then proceeded to follow Todd around the Internet for years. He asked her to put on another show for him, but she refused. So he’d find her classmates on Facebook and send them the photograph. To cope with the anxiety, Todd descended into drugs and alcohol and ill-advised flirtations and sex. Her classmates ostracized her. She attempted suicide a few times before finally succeeding.” (Dean, 2012, para. 2). In April 2012, RCMP confirmed that they have identified the man responsible for Amanda’s online bullying. Ayden Coban from the Netherlands was confirmed to be the man responsible (CTV News, 2014). In Jan 2020, nearly 8 years after Amanda’s death, Coban (aged 42) was finally extradited from the Netherlands to Canada. Coban faced charges of extortion, criminal harassment, communication with a young person to commit a sexual offence, and possession of child pornography. The trial has been scheduled for June 2022 (Judd, 2022). The Story of Rehtaeh Parsons Rehtaeh Parsons was another youth in Canada who experienced severe cyberbullying. Just like Amanda, Rehtaeh also took her own life. Rehtaeh was from Halifax, Nova Scotia. In 2011, she was sexually assaulted by a group of 4 boys when she was just 15 years old (The Canadian Press, 2013). Her bullies distributed photos online of her gang rape to other students in her school. She was bullied relentlessly. She later moved schools multiple times to try and get away from the harassment she faced; it continued to reach her at every school she attended (The Canadian Press, 2013). In April 2013, after experiencing nearly 2 years of cyberbullying, Rehtaeh attempted to take her own life. She remained in the ICU for 3 days. She was eventually taken off life support and passed away (Glenn Canning, 2015). New laws were created in response to this incident. In Nova Scotia, parents were granted the ability to sue if their children were being cyberbullied. This law was later struck down as a violation of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, after which it was determined that all harassment and bullying cases are to be referred to the police; however, the police will only investigate bullying cases if a criminal element is involved (The Canadian Press, 2013). Another law was introduced following Rehtaeh’s case. The Federal Government introduced a new cyberbullying bill (Bill C-13) that makes it illegal to send intimate photos without consent of the people within the photo (The Canadian Press, 2013). In 2014, two 18-year-old men plead guilty to making and distributing child pornography. One of the accused served a 1 year conditional sentence, and the other served a 1 year suspended sentence (Glenn Canning, 2015). The Story of Todd Loik Todd was a 15-year-old boy from North Battleford, Saskatchewan. Since grade five, Todd was the victim of bullying at school (CTV Saskatoon, 2013). As Todd got older, the bullying followed him from the playground to his time online. The bullying and harassment became unescapable and Todd felt helpless (CTV Saskatoon, 2013). Just a few days before Todd’s 16th birthday, he committed suicide. Loik’s mother believes that the severe bullying he faced on Facebook and other applications ended up becoming too much for Todd to handle (CTV Saskatoon, 2013). His mother describes him as a regular teen. In describing her son, she said, “he loved hanging out with his friends. He loved camping and the outdoors, he loved to fish,” (CTV Saskatoon, 2013, para. 6) The Story of Rebecca Sedwick Rebecca’s story is all too similar to the other youth who have taken their own lives following their experiences with severe cyberbullying. Rebecca was a 12-year-old from Florida. She grew up in a very difficult environment. She didn’t have a bed to sleep in and was forced to sleep on a reclining chair. She often had to fend for herself and was left unsupervised for extended periods of time (Almasy, Segal, & Couwels, 2013). Two girls (aged 12 and 14) harassed Rebecca repeatedly on Facebook. One of her tormentors told Rebecca to kill herself (Almasy, Segal, & Couwels, 2013). Her mother transferred her to multiple schools to rescue her from the bullying she experienced, but the bullying followed her wherever she went. Rebecca later killed herself by jumping off of a cement factory building (Almasy, Segal, & Couwels, 2013). Her main tormentor said in a Facebook following Rebecca’s death, “Yes I know I bullied Rebecca and she killed herself but IDGAF.” (Almasy, Segal, & Couwels, 2013). Bullying & Cyberbullying Bullying and cyberbullying are very similar. Within bullying, there is an imbalance of power. The imbalance can be real or perceived. Bullies use this imbalance of power to take advantage of the victim or to hurt the victim. Cyberbullying follows this definition, but the bullying is carried through communication technologies like the Internet (RCMP, 2021 (Links to an external site.)). The image below illustrates the various forms of bullying. Bullying can be physical, verbal, or social. According to the RCMP (2021) some cyberbullying specific examples can include: • • • • • Sending mean or threatening emails or text/instant messages Posting embarrassing photos of someone online Creating a website to make fun of others Pretending to be someone by using their name Tricking someone into revealing personal or embarrassing information and sending it to others What makes cyberbullying more dangerous? Cyberbullying has no boundaries. The bully can reach the victim from anywhere. Before the use of social media and the internet, bullies could only reach their victims in schools or outside of the house. Cyberbullying victims cannot escape the harassment by leaving a physical area; the bullying can follow them anywhere online. Cyberbullies often say harsher things online than they would in person. As they are hiding behind a screen, it makes it easier for the bullies to say more hurtful things to their victim than if they were in a face-to-face interaction. These messages can also be shared and forwarded to anyone at any time. Anyone can become a victim of cyberbullying. Victims are not just limited to teens; anybody who is online can become a victim of bullying. Cyberbullies can remain completely anonymous. Cyberbullying Methods Quoting from Cyberbullying Hurts (Standing Senate Committee on Human Rights (Links to an external site.), 2012): “I’ve tried different things like blocking emails and making new emails but somehow they keep finding me. I’m not sure how much more I can take, it’s so awful. Help?” - A youth Because of the pervasiveness of cyberbullying and the ability of the perpetrator to move across platforms and create new profiles and accounts, many victims cannot escape from their tormentors. Cyberbullies can use email, instant messaging, chatrooms, text messages, social media sites, and websites to bully. They could send a threatening email, call someone names over instant messaging, send mean text messages, post embarrassing photos of someone on Facebook, or even set up a fake website to make fun of someone. Cyberbullying Forms Cyberbullying Harassment Cyberbullying harassment occurs when someone sends a lot of messages to someone who doesn’t want to receive them. Cyberstalking Cyberstalking occurs when someone stalks someone’s online activity. They could stalk their posts, locations, check ins, friend/follower lists, etc. Denigration Denigration happens when someone makes derogatory comments online. The comments could be sent in direct messages, as replies to someone’s status posted on their Facebook wall, etc. Happy Slapping Happy slapping occurs when someone films an embarassing moment of someone else, and then distributes the videos to others or posts the video online. Exclusion Exclusion describes instances when someone is purposefully excluded from online groups. These online groups may even talk about the person negatively in their online group discussions. Outing and Trickery Outing and trickery occur when the bully deceives their victim to gain sensitive information. Perhaps the offender pretend to be their friend to learn about their secrets, and then exposes their secrets to others (e.g. learning that someone is gay and then outing their sexual orentiation to others before they are ready). Impersonation and Masquerading Impersonation and masquerading describes instances where someone poses as someone else online. For example, they could pose as a love interest through a fake account in an attempt to later humiliate the victim. Indirect Threat An indirect threat occurs when someone online threatens to cause physical harm to their victim. Non-consensual distribution of intimate images and videos (Revenge Porn) Revenge porn is the non-consensual distribution of intimate images. Other terms for revenge porn include ‘sexual image based abuse’ and ‘non-consensual porn’ (YWCA Canada, 2022 (Links to an external site.)). There are dedicated websites that host crowd-sourced pictures without the subject’s consent. Sometimes these websites specialize in categories such as “drunk/passed out” and “peeping toms”. Many of the pictures can be categorised by city, university, and high-school. These websites may even provide the names of the subjects in the videos/images and often include other personal indentifying information, such as the year they graduated. Photos are often collected as sets on the websites (Fonrouge, 2017 (Links to an external site.)). In many instances, revenge porn is uploaded to these websites by an ex-boyfriend. The ex-boyfriend likely had the intimate photos saved on his phone that were taken or sent during the course of the relationship. Anon-IB is an example of a revenge porn website. Fonrouge (2017 (Links to an external site.)) states that, “The warped website has proven to be a moneymaker. Anon-IB gets close to 50,000 unique visitors per day and nearly 170,000 page views daily, according to Alexa, an Amazon company that monitors web traffic. That equates to an estimated $1,500 a day in advertising revenue, giving it an estimated site value of more than $700,000.” Article Read this article for an example of how extortion and the internet (sextortion) works to take advantage of youth: (Links to an external site.) Bill C-13 Bill C-13 is the main and most recent Criminal Code section to protect Canadians from online crime. What is Bill C-13? Bill C-13 was enacted in 2015. The Bill focuses on the offence of non-consensual distribution of intimate images. The Bill criminalizes offences committed by means of telecommunication. Under this legislation, new warrants are created that allow authories to collect transmission data through a transmission data recorder and to track data through a tracking device. Additionally, police only need “reasonable grounds for suspicion” to get a warrant to obtain information about an Internet user. What is the purpose of Bill C-13? The main goal of this Bill is to fight cyberbullying. The Bill’s purpose is to criminalize sharing intimate images without the consent of the person depicted in that image. This law applies to everyone of all ages, not just minors. It also covers ‘revenge porn’. What authority do judges have under Bill C-13? Under this Bill, judges have authority to order the removal of intimate images from the Internet if the images were posted without the consent of the person or persons in the image. However, can this really be effective? If the server happens to be in Canada, or a country that is friendly to Canadian law, then it is possible for Canada to order the removal of images. However, many of the servers that are hosting these intimate images are located in countries that do not honour Canadian warrants or requests. This makes it nearly impossible for Canada to touch them. What are the penalties if someone is convicted under Bill C-13? If someone is convicted under this law, they may be subject to a term of imprisonment for up to five years. They may also be forced to surrender the computer, cell phone, or any other device used to share images. The offender can also be ordered to reimburse the victim for costs incurred in removing the intimate images from the internet or elsewhere. Relevant Sections of the Criminal Code of Canada Along with Bill C-13, there are additional sections of the Criminal Code of Canada that can be applied to revenge porn allegations, which depend on the facts and circumstances of each case. Publication of an Intimate Image Without Consent – CCC. Section 162.1 (1) Everyone who knowingly publishes, distributes, transmits, sells, makes available or advertises an intimate image of a person knowing that the person depicted in the image did not give their consent to that conduct, or being reckless as to whether or not that person gave their consent to that conduct, is guilty (a) of an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for a term of not more than five years; or (b) of an offence punishable on summary conviction. (2) In this section, intimate image means a visual recording of a person made by any means including a photographic, film or video recording, (a) in which the person is nude, is exposing his or her genital organs or anal region or her breasts or is engaged in explicit sexual activity; (b) in respect of which, at the time of the recording, there were circumstances that gave rise to a reasonable expectation of privacy; and (c) in respect of which the person depicted retains a reasonable expectation of privacy at the time the offence is committed. Criminal Harassment – CCC. Section 264 264. (1) No person shall, without lawful authority and knowing that another person is harassed or recklessly as to whether the other person is harassed, engage in conduct referred to in subsection (2) that causes that other person reasonably, in all the circumstances, to fear for their safety or the safety of anyone known to them. Prohibited conduct (2) The conduct mentioned in subsection (1) consists of (a) repeatedly following from place to place the other person or anyone known to them; (b) repeatedly communicating with, either directly or indirectly, the other person or anyone known to them; (c) besetting or watching the dwelling-house, or place where the other person, or anyone known to them, resides, works, carries on business or happens to be; or (d) engaging in threatening conduct directed at the other person or any member of their family. Punishment (3) Every person who contravenes this section is guilty of (a) an indictable offence and is liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding ten years; or (b) an offence punishable on summary conviction. Mischief – CCC. Section 430 430. (1) Every one commits mischief who willfully (a) destroys or damages property; (b) renders property dangerous, useless, inoperative or ineffective; (c) obstructs, interrupts or interferes with the lawful use, enjoyment or operation of property; or (d) obstructs, interrupts or interferes with any person in the lawful use, enjoyment or operation of property. Punishment (2) Every one who commits mischief that causes actual danger to life is guilty of an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for life. Assault – Uttering Threats – CCC. Section 264.1 264.1 (1) Every one commits an offence who, in any manner, knowingly utters, conveys or causes any person to receive a threat (a) to cause death or bodily harm to any person; (b) to burn, destroy or damage real or personal property; or (c) to kill, poison or injure an animal or bird that is the property of any person. Punishment (2) Every one who commits an offence under paragraph (1)(a) is guilty of (a) an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding five years; or (b) an offence punishable on summary conviction and liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding eighteen months. Assault – CCC. Section 265 265. (1) A person commits an assault when (a) without the consent of another person, applies force intentionally to that other person, directly or indirectly; (b) he attempts or threatens, by an act or a gesture, to apply force to another person, if he has, or causes that other person to believe on reasonable grounds that he has, present ability to effect his purpose; or (c) while openly wearing or carrying a weapon or an imitation thereof, he accosts or impedes another person or begs. Punishment Every one who commits an assault is guilty of (a) an indictable offence and is liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding five years; or (b) an offence punishable on summary conviction. Sexual Assault – CCC. Section 271 271. Everyone who commits a sexual assault is guilty of (a) an indictable offence and is liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 10 years and, if the complainant is under the age of 16 years, to a minimum punishment of imprisonment for a term of one year; or (b) an offence punishable on summary conviction and is liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 18 months and, if the complainant is under the age of 16 years, to a minimum punishment of imprisonment for a term of 90 days. Unauthorized Use of a Computer – CCC. Section 342.1 342.1 (1) Every one who, fraudulently and without colour of right, (a) obtains, directly or indirectly, any computer service, (b) by means of an electro-magnetic, acoustic, mechanical or other device, intercepts or causes to be intercepted, directly or indirectly, any function of a computer system, (c) uses or causes to be used, directly or indirectly, a computer system with intent to commit an offence under paragraph (a) or (b) or an offence under section 430 in relation to data or a computer system, or (d) uses, possesses, traffics in or permits another person to have access to a computer password that would enable a person to commit an offence under paragraph (a), (b) or (c) Punishment Everyone is guilty of an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding ten years, or is guilty of an offence punishable on summary conviction. Extortion – CCC. Section 346 346. (1) Everyone commits extortion who, without reasonable justification or excuse and with intent to obtain anything, by threats, accusations, menaces or violence induces or attempts to induce any person, whether or not he is the person threatened, accused or menaced or to whom violence is shown, to do anything or cause anything to be done. (1.1) Every person who commits extortion is guilty of an indictable offence and liable (a) if a restricted firearm or prohibited firearm is used in the commission of the offence or if any firearm is used in the commission of the offence and the offence is committed for the benefit of, at the direction of, or in association with, a criminal organization, to imprisonment for life and to a minimum punishment of imprisonment for a term of (i) in the case of a first offence, five years, and (ii) in the case of a second or subsequent offence, seven years; (a.1) in any other case where a firearm is used in the commission of the offence, to imprisonment for life and to a minimum punishment of imprisonment for a term of four years; and (b) in any other case, to imprisonment for life. Topic 2: Cyber Vigilantes What are Cyber Vigilantes? Techopedia (2013) (Links to an external site.) defines cyber-vigilantism as, “online actions that are oriented toward monitoring the actions of others. It refers to individuals or groups that take grassroots action, rather than work through regional or national justice systems”. The hacktivist group Anonymous is an example of a cyber-vigilante group. In the case of Amanda Todd, the police were conducting an investigation into the man responsible for harassing Amanda to the point of suicide. Anonymous decided to launch their own investigation, as they believed the police were not doing enough to bring the man that was responsible to justice. The video below illustrates Anonymous’ identification of the man they believed to be responsible for the death of Amanda Todd. Anonymous Message Kody Maxson Amanda Todd's Bully - YouTube (Links to an external site.) Anonymous and Amanda Todd In the previous video, Anonymous identified Kody Maxson of New Westminster, BC. They publicly announced his name, phone number, and home address. So, what is the issue? Guess The Answer Based on what you have already learned about Amanda Todd’s case, what is the issue with Anonymous’ public doxxing of Kody Maxson? (Doxxing is the public release of someone’s personal details, putting them into a vulnerable position.) Kody Maxson was not the right person! Kody was not responsible for Amanda Todd’s death. The real offender is Aydin Coban of the Netherlands who has since been extradited to Canada to face charges. Kody Maxon suffered significant harm due to Anonymous’ identification error. RCMP had to deploy resources to protect Kody from public backlash. Anonymous did not help in this matter and wasted valuable police resources. Anonymous and Rehteah Parsons Shortly after Rehteah’s suicide, Anonymous got involved. They orchestrated Operation Justice For Rehtaeh. During this operation, Anonymous collected information and identified the people responsible for filming and sharing the images of Rehtaeh’s sexual abuse. Rather than publicly doxxing the individuals, Anonymous shared their information with the RCMP. Based on the information the police received, the RCMP were able to follow the leads, conduct a proper investigation, and lay charges where appropriate (Huffington Post, 2013 (Links to an external site.)). In this case, Anonymous helped substantially. What was the difference between the two events, in terms of the actions taken by Anonymous and how much they helped the RCMP? In Amanda’s case Anonymous took justice into their own hands, and were wrong. In Rehteah’s case, they did an investigation, but did not take justice into their own hands, but rather passed the information straight to the RCMP. Topic 3: Cyberstalking Introduction Statistics Canada describes cyberstalking as someone who has, “been subject to repeated and unwanted online attention, within the past five years. This includes receiving unwanted messaged via email, text, or social media or having someone post inappropriate, unwanted, or personal information or pictures on a social media site”. The image below illustrates the statistics of cyberstalking in Canada. The statistics suggest that women are more likely than men to be a victim of cyberstalking. Another important finding is that people who have experienced discrimination are more likely to be cyberstalked than someone who has not experienced discrimination. Cyberstalking and Age The image below illustrates how age plays a role in who is likely to become cyberstalked. Much like other areas of victimization, cyberstalking victimization decreases with age for both men and women. People between the age of 15 to 24 are more likely to be cyberstalked than older age groups (Statistics Canada, 2017 (Links to an external site.)). What is cyberstalking and how can laws protect victims? Cyberstalking involves the use of internet, e-mail, or other electronic communication devices to stalk another person Cyberstalking, “can have a significant psychological impact on the victim, including anxiety, sleep disturbances, suicidal thoughts and post-traumatic stress disorder” (Clough, 2010, pp. 366). Other laws require only the alleged stalker’s course of conduct to constitute an implied threat. Cyberstalking often involves harassing or threatening behaviour that an individual engages in repeatedly Unfortunately, it may not always be easy to implement a legal response to cyberstalking cases. Most stalking laws require that the perpetrator make a credible threat of violence against the victim or the victim’s immediate family. The Nature and Extent of Cyberstalking What do we know about the nature and extent of cyberstalking? Cyberstalkers desire to exert control over their victims The majority of cyberstalkers are men The majority of victims are women The victim usually has had a prior relationship with the stalker Stalking usually begins when the victim attempts to break off the relationship The internet is easy to use. Cyberstalking can be non-confrontational, impersonal, and anonymous. Due to these factors, it is easier to carry out cyberstalking than in-person stalking. Harassment and threats made online may be a prelude to more serious crime. It may start out as cyberstalking, but could eventually lead to a more serious crime, such as sexual assault. Cyberstalkers can use programs to send messages at regular or random intervals without being physically present at the computer terminal. This can cause many legal challenges. For example, how can you prove they did it when the offender was not online when the messages were sent, or has a physical alibi? Cyberstalkers can dupe other Internet users into harassing or threatening a victim Cyberstalking Example In 2013, a Vancouver teacher broke up with his girlfriend. After the breakup, “she broke into his apartment and stole his laptop and hard drive, along with other personal belongings. She then hacked into his email account and sent messages to all of his contacts — posing as him —talking about how he had sex with underage students” (Tomlinson, 2013 (Links to an external site.), para. 8). She spread false information on social media sites about the man. The teacher said that, “I did a Google search of my name and I saw profiles listed saying I am a psychopath, I am a child molester, a pedophile, I am involved with my students and so on” (Tomlinson, 2013 (Links to an external site.), para. 13). The harassment continued even after a judge ordered his ex-girlfriend to pay $66,000 in damages. After the damage had been done to the victim’s life and reputation, he was forced to do the repair the damage by himself, especially since once the girlfriend had moved to Malaysia, law enforcement did not show much interest in pursuing the case (Tomlinson, 2013 (Links to an external site.)). Protecting Yourself Against Cyberstalking CyberGuards (2022) (Links to an external site.) recommends that you take the following precautions to prevent yourself from becoming a cyberstalking victim. What should I do if I am being cyberstalked? Below are recommendations on how to proceed if you find yourself in a position where you are the victim of cyberstalking. Law Enforcement Response Law enforcement agencies are taking more aggressive actions to respond to instances of cyberstalking. Many police agencies across Canada now have specialized units available to investigate and prosecute cyberstalking cases Cyberstalkers can leave an “electronic trail” of evidence. When police are equipped to investigate these trails of evidence, better outcomes can be reached. For cyberstalking responses to be more effective, law enforcement must become more sensitive to cyberstalking complaints by taking them more seriously. They also need to devote the necessary training and resources to allow proper investigation and prosecution. Cyberstalking Laws In Canada, there is no specific Cyberstalking legislation. To prosecute cyberstalking, we need to rely on more generalized sections of the Criminal Code. Criminal Harassment – CCC. Section 264 Most cases of cyberstalking are prosecuted under section 264: 264. (1) No person shall, without lawful authority and knowing that another person is harassed or recklessly as to whether the other person is harassed, engage in conduct referred to in subsection (2) that causes that other person reasonably, in all the circumstances, to fear for their safety or the safety of anyone known to them. Prohibited conduct (2) The conduct mentioned in subsection (1) consists of (a) repeatedly following from place to place the other person or anyone known to them; (b) repeatedly communicating with, either directly or indirectly, the other person or anyone known to them; (c) besetting or watching the dwelling-house, or place where the other person, or anyone known to them, resides, works, carries on business or happens to be; or (d) engaging in threatening conduct directed at the other person or any member of their family. Miscellaneous Charges Other charges that can be applied based on the circumstances of the case include: o S. 326 - Theft of telecommunication service o S. 327 - Possession of device to obtain telecommunication facility or service o S. 342.1 - Unauthorized use of a computer o S. 342.2 - Possession of device to obtain computer service o S. 430(1.1) - Mischief in relation to data o S. 264.1 – Assault – Uttering Threats Conclusions Most crimes we discuss in this course is against technology, it is easier to discuss topics where the victims are computers or data, and the offenders are algorithms. It’s a bit abstract. Unfortunately, there are crimes where this is not the case. And sadly, sometimes both the offender and victim are youth, which is the saddest of them all. Sometimes it is due to ignorance (like the cases of teenagers filming and/or distributing, without understanding the implications), while other times it is with malicious intent. Both cyber-stalking and -bullying can be very difficult for the recipient, if anyone, especially a child, is indicating that either of these is happening, we need to take it seriously. Completely disconnecting from the internet is now not a solution, but steps can be taken to help collect evidence for the police to use later during an investigation. If you, or someone you know, is experiencing anything like this, take plenty of screenshots, try to identify the offender(s), then change your username to something neutral and remove details from any social media platform. If things continue, then abandon your original profile, and recreate it, following the above advice. Be vigilant with any information you give out, because once it’s on the internet, it’s there forever, and things can change, and that content you posted could be used against you. Discussion1: I will be discussing the topic of cyberbullying and cyberstalking along with its effects to certain groups of individuals. Cyberbullying and cyberstalking are the most committed crimes by youth against another youth (Frank, 2022). Cyberbullying is a form of bullying or harassment using digital devices such as cellphones, computers, and tablets. It occurs in platforms where people can view, participate in, or share content. The most common places where cyberbullying happens are on social media, texting, and instant messaging. Cyberstalking is defined as someone who experiences repeated and unwanted online attention within the past five years (Frank, 2022). Most often those who commit cyberstalking are men and the victims are women who have had prior relationship with the stalker (Frank, 2022). In Canada, there are no specific cyberstalking legislation. According to Statistics Canada (2016), they found that cyberbullying and cyberstalking are prevalent among internet users aged 15 to 29 in Canada. In their study, they found that some factors associated with cyberbullying and cyberstalking are negative life events, personal behaviour, mental health, and an individual's level of trust (Statistics Canada, 2016). They also found that groups that are more at risk of experiencing cyberbullying and cyberstalking were young homosexual and bisexual population (Statistics Canada, 2016). Discussion Questions: • • • What assumptions can be made about why youth are the ones mostly experiencing cyberbullying and cyberstalking? Are there factors to be considered why youth may be more prone to these than adults? What other solutions can be offered to decrease cyberbullying and cyberstalking? In prosecuting cyberstalking, we need to rely more on generalized sections of the Criminal Code, would this be a problem? References: Statistics Canada (2016, December 19). Study: Cyberbullying and cyberstalking among Internet users aged 15 to 29 in Canada. The Daily. What is Cyberbullying (n.d.). Discussion 2: This week we looked at different forms of cyberbullying and cyberstalking, and the impact they have on our lives. Like bullying, cyberbullying involves an imbalanced power dynamic where the bully can exert power over the victim. The only difference being that the bully is not limited to harming the victim in-person and can use the internet to continuing perpetuating their torment. Some examples of cyber bullying include, sending them harmful messages, posting embarrassing content of the victim, tricking the victim into revealing personal information, or excluding them from online groups or pages. Similarly, cyberstalking involves monitoring the victim’s online activity and/or repeatedly sending messages to the victim. The unfortunate reality is that many of the victims of cyberbullying are children and teenagers, and they often will not report these instances to their teachers or parents. This can be especially troubling when this has resulted in young people taking their own lives because of cyberbullying. Pulling from one of the statistics shared in lecture, about 89% of Canadian teachers believe that cyberbullying is the top safety issue in public schools (Dojchinovska, 2022). For many of these kids, cyberbullying extended far past the computer screen and resulted in in-person bullying and physical violence. I remember growing up and watching Amanda Todd’s video in class as a part of an antibullying campaign; it was a real wakeup call and shaped the way I used the internet. Though we’ve come a long way, with the introduction of new laws (i.e., Bill C-13), greater attention and resources being put towards spreading awareness and combating cyberbullying; it is still all too prevalent. With the rise of TikTok, and internet trends/ “challenges” there came a new way to cyberbullying. This summer there was a harmful trend going around on TikTok called the “Guess Who” challenge where students would post short descriptions or cryptic images of other students/teachers, and in turn their audience would have to guess the name and identify who the person was (Hiatt, 2022). Quickly this became a bullying mechanism, where the descriptions would be cruel, and involve harmful or personal comments about the victim (Hiatt, 2022). In one instance this “challenge” resulted in the students outing their teacher’s sexual orientation which led to them losing their job (Talintyre, 2022). Tiktok ‘Guess Who’ Trend: 1. (Links to an external site.) 2. Questions: 1. Cyber-bullying mainly takes place on large social media platforms, do you believe that there is more these platforms can do to prevent and protect victims? Are they responsible for the cyberbullying that happens on their platform? 2. If the ‘Guess Who’ trend gained popularity in Canada, if any, which laws could possibly be implemented against the bullies? Would they suffice? 3. What are some other online trends (old or new) that may be considered cyberbullying and/or cyberstalking? References Dojchinovska, A. (2022, August 11). 18 Cyberbullying Statistics Canada Infographic [Updated in 2022]. Reviewlution. (Links to an external site.) Hiatt, B. (2022, June 26). WA schools ROCKED by TikTok cyberbullying scandal. PerthNow. (Links to an external site.) Talintyre, B. (2022, July 9). Catholic school teacher forced to quit after outed as gay on TikTok. Daily Mail. Discussion 3: This week’s content is centered on the topic of cyberbullying and cyberstalking. These are very similar topics that we have seen occur far too often. These behaviours have dangerous impacts that are not given enough attention. Cyberstalking refers to when someone is exposed to repeated unwanted attention online (Statistics Canada, 2017). Cyberstalking includes unwanted messages or someone posting inappropriate/unwanted pictures or personal information online (Statistics Canada, 2017). A person may constantly be harassed online even if they have made it clear they do not the attention or contact. Some noteworthy statistics to know about cyberstalking is that people between the age of 15 to 24 are more likely to be cyberstalked than older age groups (Statistics Canada, 2017). Also, the majority of cyber stalkers are men while the majority of victims are women. Here, it is most often the case that the victim and offender have had a prior relationship before. However, some steps you can take to prevent yourself from becoming a victim of cyberstalking are to not use a real name or nickname as a screen or user ID, not share any personal information in public spaces, not post personal information as a part of your profile and logging off if a situation becomes hostile (CyberGuards, 2022). There is no specific cyberstalking legislation in Canada where most cases of cyberstalking are prosecuted under criminal harassment, which is section 264 of the Criminal Code. Cyberbullying was another key issue talked about in this weeks content. Cyberbullying is when bullies use a disparity of power to hurt or take advantage of a victim (RCMP, 2021). A person engaging in cyberbullying may send mean or threatening emails or texts, post embarrassing photos of someone online, or pretend to be someone by using their name. Individuals may also trick a person to reveal their personal or embarrassing information to send it to others (RCMP, 2021). This is a major topic that has been seen time and time again that often involves youth in the school system. It is stated that 89% of Canadian teachers believe cyberbullying is the number one safety issue in public schools (Dojchinovska, 2021). Also, a Canada-wide study done by the Standing Senate Committee on Human Rights (2012) revealed that 43% of children have reported being bullied online and 68% of youth believe cyberbullying is a serious issue. However, kids do not tell their parents because they are afraid of losing access to the internet. This is a clear example that outlines how the internet holds a strong influence over our lives. In response, Bill C-13 is the most recent Criminal Code section that was enacted in 2015 that protects Canadians from online crime. The Bill focuses on the distribution of intimate pictures online without consent. Here, authorities are allowed to collect and track data on possible offenders with reasonable grounds of suspicion. There have been numerous cases that show the extreme repercussions of cyberbullying. Examples include the story of Amanda Todd, Rahtaeh Parsons, Rebecca Sedwick, and Todd Loik. All of these names were children who took their own lives as a result of being cyberbullied. It is very sad to hear and read about these types of events that continue to show the dominance the Internet has over our lives and advocate for change. Discussion Questions What other measures can you take to prevent yourself from getting cyberstalked? Given the impact bullying has on the youth, what steps can be taken by the educational system to prevent cyberbullying from occurring among students? Do you believe Bill C-63 is enough to protect individuals from being cyberbullied? Why or why not?
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➢ Cyberbullying is considered a serious public health issue. Because of their immature
brains, teens and the youth are ass...

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