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Regina public schools host bullying forum for parents

WATCH ABOVE: Bullying has long been a problem in schools, but with the rise of social media, it has become an even bigger threat. Christa Dao looks at how parents are taking steps to protect their kids.

Dozens of parents attended a bullying prevention forum for parents Tuesday night, hosted by Regina Public Schools.

The talks examined three topics surrounding bullying, including bullying prevention, cyberbullying, and defining consent in healthy relationships.

“Typically parents will freely admit that they don’t necessarily have all the skills and the knowledge required to support their children with cyberbullying,” Erik Van Dusen, an assessment and education technology co-ordinator, said.

READ MORE: New app allows parents to become online gatekeepers

The 45-minute information session provided ways for parents to monitor their children’s social media presence, like what to avoid and what type of dangers to be aware of on the internet.

Presenters point to useful sites like mediasmarts.ca and tineye.com as resourceful webpages for parents to access.

“Times are changing and with social media, there are all these pressures that students have to be exposed to, and be dealing with,” teacher Ashley Enion said.

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Dennis Fudge has two children and said he attended the forum to learn more about a changing world.

“I want to be a better parent,” Fudge said.

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“Hopefully they’re better kids because I’m a better parent attending these sessions.”

Fudge said he has concerns about the easy accessibility of information and believes all parents should attend a parent forum similar to this.

“It’s kind of an eye-opener for a lot of parents… There’s so much [out there] that you don’t know what’s right and what to do but when you attend these sessions, you know they’re presented by professionals that are telling you what to do correctly.”

Amanda Todd

Bullying of any kind is a serious issue and can lead to tragic results and no one knows that better than Carol Todd.

Her daughter Amanda Todd was 15-years-old when she took her own life in October 2012. Her alleged perpetrator, Aydin Coban of the Netherlands could still be extradited to B.C. to face charges.

Aydin Coban, 38, was convicted and sentenced to nearly 11 years in prison by a Dutch court in a separate, unrelated case.

READ MORE: Amanda Todd’s mother hopes for justice in her daughter’s case following Dutch ruling

“Before Amanda was targeted, victimized and harassed, she was this bubbly young girl that loved to do anything and everything,” Carol explained.

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“After this happened, she lost confidence in herself when her peers started bullying her in real life and cyberbullying her online… It’s like an onion where it peels away and she couldn’t rebuild herself to her full potential.”

Carol now advocates for cyber safety and although there are greater resources now than before, more is needed.

“It can be a predator’s playground.”

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“There is a big difference from four and a half years ago when Amanda died. There’s more awareness out there. There’s more conversation but there’s never enough of everything, so we just have to keep going,” Carol said.

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