Block 'Em Don't Share 'Em
Find resources for having conversations with your child or teen about cyberbullying and the non-consensual distribution of intimate images.
What is Cyberbullying?
Cyberbullying is when someone uses a computer, cellphone or other electronic device to embarrass, humiliate, torment, threaten or harass another person. It can start as early as age eight and affects victims in different ways than traditional bullying does. It follows the victim everywhere 24 hours a day, seven days a week, from school, to the mall and all the way home.
During the pandemic there was an exponential increase in sexual image extortion cases in the second quarter of 2020. There was also an increase reported in August 2022. The increase is attributed to the fact that during the pandemic, youth were connected digitally more than ever.
To combat this, the City of Surrey’s Community Safety section, in collaboration with Surrey RCMP Operations Support section and BC’s RCMP E-Division Youth Services, launched a youth-led and inspired #BlockEmDontShareEm campaign to encourage youth to end the non-consensual distribution of intimate images.
Non-consensual distribution of intimate images (including videos) is a form of cyberbullying. In addition to causing harm to the person, distributing an intimate image can lead to social, emotional, and lifelong legal consequences for the sharer.
It is illegal for a person to distribute an intimate image of another person without that person’s consent. If the image involves someone under 18, it may be illegal to distribute the image regardless of whether consent was provided.
Staying Safe Online
If you’re a parent, it’s important to talk to your children early about online safety, non-consensual distribution of intimate images and the consequences of these actions. Some of the consequences for the sharer of the image include:
Several Criminal Code offences could apply to the person spreading the image:
- Child Pornography
- Luring a Child
- Making Sexually explicit material available to a child
- Criminal Harassment
- Uttering threats
- It could impact future job opportunities, scholarships, post-secondary entrance, and participation in programs and sports
- Lead to being left out at school by friends and acquaintances
- Lead to changing schools in order to deal with the pressure
- Guilt of impacting someone’s reputation and life
- Almost one in 10 Canadian teens (8%) say they have been victims of online bullying on a social networking site.
- 46% of youth who have received a sext have shared one.
- 47% of Canadian parents report having a child who is a victim of bullying.
Conversation starters, if you need help approaching your child or teen:
- On Cyberbullying
- If they are the victim of an image/ video gone viral OR if they were caught spreading intimate images online
To learn more visit the following websites:
- Department of Justice
- RCMP- Bullying and Cyberbullying
- Parent & Educator Toolkits
- Resource Guide for Families
For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org.