Conference spotlights social media and sexual violence

Research suggests approximately 25 per cent of today’s youth are cyber-bullied and only slightly less (18 per cent) cyber-bully others. While cyber-bullying is reportedly less common than traditional bullying, victims of cyber-bullying report poorer psychosocial outcomes, including higher rates of depression and anxiety and decreased self-esteem.

Young people who are cyber-bullied are two times more likely than non-bullied youth to attempt suicide and cyber bullies are 1.5 times more likely to attempt it. Some cyber-bullying is now linked to sexual assault, in which victims are specifically targeted and their images and videos are posted online.

As these alarming statistics continue to climb, educators, parents, mental health and social service professionals, police, victim advocates and students are set to meet in London for a conference Thursday and Friday, Nov. 7-8, organized by Western’s Centre for Research on Violence Against Women and Children (CREVAWC) in collaboration with the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health and the Thames Valley District School Board (TVDSB).

The conference will be held in the Faculty of Education’s Community Room, 1137 Western Road.

The conference, Social Media and Sexual Violence Conference: Understanding the links to students’ mental health and well-being, features addresses by Jackson Katz, an author and social critic, and Carol Todd, mother of Amanda Todd and the founder of the Amanda Todd Legacy Society.

There will also be a performance of a new interactive play on social media and sexual violence called Tuned Out, written and directed by Toni Wilson, TVDSB Safe Schools learning coordinator, as well as presentations by Katie Cole and Melissa Gollan-Wills, TVDSB media violence specialists, and Alan Lescheid, Western’s Faculty of Education.

Visit the conference website for more details.