Thursday, October 31, 2013

Just finalized - the International Stop Cyberbullying Youth Summit Program 1000 participants, 800 students 4-12th grade to create a action plan wish list to address cyberbullying from a youth perspective

RE                         REVISED DRAFT AGENDA (October 31, 2013 revisions)
                              Subject to Change
                              November 9, 2013, Charlottetown, PEI, Canada
Location: Confederation Centre (Homburg Theatre) 
                              Sold Out - waiting list registrations accepted.

The International Stop Cyberbullying Youth Summit Agenda:

7:15am - 8:20am            Check-In
8:30am – 8:40am           Welcome/Introductions
8:40am – 8:50am           Plenary Presentation – Cyberbullying Hurts!
8:50am – 9:15 am          Plenary Panel - What is Cyberbullying? How Does It Work? Defining the Issues and Stakeholders: Jacqueline Beauchere (Microsoft), Laurel Broten (Educational Consulting, Fmr Minister of Education and Women), Wayne MacKay, Student, Doug Currie (Minister of Health and Wellness, PEI, from a parents’ perspective).
9:15am – 9:40am           Plenary Panel - International Cyberbullying Perspectives – PEI Newcomer’s Student Panel, Bonnie Bracey Sutton (UN advisor), Kim Sanchez (Microsoft)
9:40am – 10:10am         Barbara Coloroso – The Bully, the Bullied and the Bystander and the Digital World
10:10am – 10:20am       Plenary Session – Good Parent/Bad Parent (Student Presentation)/Kensington Presentation (What We Want)
10:20am – 10:35am       Break and Track 2 Transitions to Upper Foyer (Track 1 remains in theatre)
10:35am – 11:15am       Facilitated Breakout Session One (same for both Tracks) – Getting Answers – What is “cyberbullying”?:
What did you learn this morning that you didn’t know before?
Did you agree with what you heard? If not, what didn’t you agree with and why?
Do people realize how much cyberbullying hurts?
What do you want to know about cyberbullying that you don’t already know? What don’t parents understand about cyberbullying?
How serious is the problem of cyberbullying?
How important is it to stop cyberbullying? Why?
How do you define cyberbullying?
11:15am – 12:15pm       Track 2 Remains in Upper Foyer for Special Breakout Session About How Much Cyberbullying Hurts and Ways Kids Can Get Help [picking up box lunch early at 12:15pm]). How To Create Awareness and Show How Much You Care. (artistic activities)
11:15am – 11:45pm       Plenary Session – What Have We Learned?: A Discussion with Glen Canning and Leah Parsons, Parry and Student
11:45pm – 12:00pm       Plenary Session - Minister Gail Shea and Students – Making Your Voice Heard in Ottawa            
12:00pm – 12:30pm       Plenary Session – From the Trenches – Insight Into Victims’ Rights and Services: Sharon Rosenfeldt (Victims’ of Violence, Canadian Centre for Missing Children), Susan O’Sullivan (Canada’s Victims’ Ombudsman), Susan Maynard (Director, PEI Victims’ Services), student and Allan McCullough
12:30pm – 1:30pm         Lunch and Entertainment Program - Raising  Student Voices: Anne of Green Gables Meets Cyberbullying, Mustafa Ahmed (word performance artist), PEI student poet, Friends skit role playing, M&Ms “pass the word!” activity, Cups Kids student performance.
1:30pm – 2:30pm          Plenary Panel – How to Get and Provide Support – Spotting the Signs, the Role of Trusted Adults, Elders and Friends, Peer-Counseling, Student Advocacy, Restorative and Criminal Justice, Reporting Abuse: Dave Finnegan (Build-A-Bear Workshop), Meg Sinclair (Facebook), Chief Roger Augustine, Lori St Onge, [9th grade student], [cyberbullying target], Kevin Harrison, Juniper (Google)
2:30pm – 3:30pm          Younger Students in Upper Foyer for Facilitated Breakout Session (Ice Cream Break for them begins at 3:15pm – 3:30pm).
2:30pm – 3:30pm          Older Students Remain in Theatre for Facilitated Session – What do you think about what you have heard? How important are trusted adults, parents and elders to helping stop cyberbullying? How important are your friends? What makes someone trustworthy? Can we teach people to be more trustworthy? What do parents/trusted adults/elders need to know? What works? Why? What doesn’t work and why? List the top five things you think will help prevent cyberbullying. List the five top things you think will stop a cyberbullying campaign once it starts? List the three ways victims can be helped the most. What should we do with the cyberbullies?
3:30pm – 4:00pm          Ice Cream Break and Student Activities
4:00pm – 4:25pm          Student Questions for the Experts – Allen Roach (Minister of Innovation), Google, Facebook, Microsoft, Build-A-Bear Workshop.
4:25pm – 5:25pm           Plenary Facilitated Discussion – Pulling It All Together –What Have We Learned from Each Other? What Don’t We Know Yet? What Should We Do Next? Creating a Strategy and an Action Plan Wish List, Identifying the Partners, Identifying What Works and What Doesn’t and Getting Out the Word. The Action Plan Wish List is Agreed Upon.
5:25pm – 5:30pm          Closing Ceremony

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Trustworthiness Comes in All Shapes, Sizes, Sexual Preferences and Colors

A nationally-recognized educator in Canada, Kevin Harrison, dedicated his attention to figuring out what makes someone trustworthy to their peers. 

While Principal at the Timberline High School in Timberline, Campbell River, Vancouver Island, BC, Kevin realized that the student peer counseling program had tremendous promise. But peer counselors selected by the guidance counselors or school administrators tended to look alike, act alike and have the same friends. 

They were trusted by some students, mostly the ones who looked and acted like them and had the same friends. But the rest of the students, the Goths, geeks, jocks, poets, drama kids, band members, special needs students and others who didn’t precisely fit the “teachers’ pet” model couldn’t relate.

So, together with his team at the school, Kevin created a survey for the students designed to find students that other students trusted. The 85 students nominated were reviewed by the school administrators for the factors they felt were important to being an effective a peer counselor, and the 50+ students resulting were brought into the fold.

Pearcings and tattoos were as common as hockey jerseys in the group. They came in all colors, shapes and sizes. Their language, walk, talk and mannerisms were vastly different from each other. But they all had some things important in common. They were trusted, were trustworthy and they cared about making a difference.
Thanks to Kevin’s thinking outside of the box, everyone had someone to trust when things went wrong and they needed someone to talk with. They are called "student advocates." It’s a model we are using with’s programs as we go from school to school to teach cyberbullying prevention.

See it in action at the International Stop Cyberbullying Youth Summit November 9, 2013 in Prince Edward Island, Canada. Google, Microsoft and Facebook are joining us. So is Dave Finnegan from Build-A-Bear Workshop, and Kevin Harrison himself.  And even more importantly, 750 students from 4th – 12th grade are joining us too, to help lead the discussions.

Alert: The @youthsummitpei is sold out (at 1000 participants). But you can watch the event for free live online at

Saturday, October 26, 2013

My Promise to Islanders (Prince Edward Island) and Apologies

We are getting amazing traction for our @youthstummipei event. We expanded it from 600 to 1000 seats to handle the demand.

Wanted to make a few promises and one apology:

1. I promise that your kids will knock the socks off of everyone who comes. They are passionate, caring and truly leaders in helping others.

2. I promise that this will allow the island to shine. When Google, Microsoft and Facebook leave on Nov 10th, they will know how empowered and empowering Islanders are to help lead the charge against cyberbullying.

3. I promise that your values will be valued. That the integrity, compassion and community approach will be seen as a major benefit to the fight against cyberbullying.

4. I promise that this is only the beginning, and that as long as I have a say in it, PEI will be the leader in responsible and effective use of digital technologies for all ages. We will become the first Cybersafety Province, tapping the talents of so many Islanders already dedicated to this important issue.

5. I promise that I will continue to share what I know, who I know and my passion to make the Internet a safer place for our children everywhere with Island stakeholders.

Now, one apology. I know more of you wanted to join us for the @youthsummitpei. I expanded it to almost double, budget be "damned." I am sorry that we haven't been able to accommodate everyone with a seat at the event. But, we are hosting a free webcast all day for those of you from off Island and those of you on the Island who can't be there in person. You can tweet your questions and comments to our social media team. You can post on our FB page and we'll be able to help share your voice with the plenary.

This is the first of many events, I promise. And the voice of our Island children will help guide solutions to a growing and worldwide problem, using what Island parents and community leaders have taught them - self-respect, respect for others, honesty, kindness and empathy.

thank you for allowing me to be involved with the rest of the island in pulling off the largest event of its kind in the world, bringing together world leaders and local experts to understand cyberbullying from the lens of our children.

I promise not to let you down!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Across silos - forging multi-stakeholder solutions and breaking through barriers to #stopcyberbullying

 So many people are doing good work to address cyberbullying. And, they rarely talk to each other. Each solution works from that stakeholder's perspective. Law enforcement approaches work for law enforcement. Alternative justice programs work for social workers. Educational programs work for schools, etc. The list goes on and on.

But for solutions to cyberbullying to be effective, they must work across all digital technologies, they must address at least one of the types of cyberbullying and motivations behind cyberbullying and they have to include the feedback of kids and teens.

There are two big problems we have seen - no one thinks about other perspectives and no one includes the voices of youth. Unless this changes, all solutions will fail.

In Prince Edward Island, people know their neighbors. They know people from across the Island. They have strong, but similar opinions about cyberbullying, kindness and self-respect. They are creating wonderful initiatives within their industry/silo, as well.

At @youthsummitpei on Nov 9th, we will be bringing all stakeholders together to explore cross-perspective solutions. And the young students (from 4th - 12th grade) will help us do that.

Not all experts can talk to kids. Some "dumb it down" too much and the kids tune them out.Others talk to them exactly the same way they talk to adult professionals in the field, and put them to sleep. These experts will be opening kids' eyes to new approaches and viewpoints. They will empower, inspire and inform them. They will see connections and help youth see them too. And they will be able to answer hard questions posed by the students in clear ways. No easy. Not for the faint of heart. But crucial if we are going to forge solutions to an ever-changing cyberbullying climate.

I have included the leaders in this issue, worldwide. I have included law enforcement officers who "get it" and are comfortable working with youth. We have educational experts, local and international, who understand about engaging youth and project learning. We have industry leaders and policymakers, who understand the scope of the issue and what hasn't worked in the past and what shows promise. We have health and wellness professionals who understand the emotional and physical costs of cyberbullying. I have brought them to the table to help them cross-boundaries.Their ideas need cross-fertilization. They need a shot of those most familiar with the problem - kids themselves.

Cross your fingers. Fasten your seatbelts. We are in for a rocky but thrilling ride. To learn more about the international stopcyberbullying youth summit in Prince Edward Island, Canada on Nov 9th, visit

Sunday, October 13, 2013

You asked for more blogs, so here you are. Competitive Edge on Safety Online - Google, Microsoft and Facebook

The International Stop Cyberbullying Youth Summit is modeled after youth summits I host at the US Senate annually  since 1999.

Over the years everyone from Disney, to Nickelodeon, to MTV, to Webkinz, to Facebook, to Microsoft, to Google and Sesame Street have joined us at our Wired Kids Senate Summits. The best thinkers, policymakers and NGOs join us as well.

One year Google's sr rep was sitting on the same panel as Microsoft's, Facebook's and Yahoo's sr reps. We were discussing cyberbullying and safety best practices. I asked them if "safety is a competitive issue." I meant, do they try to one-up each other by keeping their safety expertise to themselves, as trade secrets, instead of sharing ways to make all kids safer. But Google's rep heard it differently.

"Safety is a very competitive issue," he shared. "If your competitors are adopting safer practices, you can't not adopt them too. Those who don't take safety into consideration are left behind."

I was so happy to hear that there is a rush to safety when others become safer. This will only make things better. Many of the big guys come to the same handful of experts to help them. Most come to me and to wiredsafety and for help and advice. While announcements are carefully guarded and the first out of the box is kept confidential until launch, they all want to know if they are doing a good job and if there are ways to help them do a better job.

I, for one, am thrilled to have the top brains at Google, Microsoft and Facebook work on ways to connect us more safely. I bet you are too.

Got ideas for questions we can ask them at @youthsummitpei International Stop Cyberbullying Youth Summit in Nov? They are coming to PEI to help young people build an action plan for all stakeholders, including industry leaders, to address cyberbullying.

Small schools vs big ones, small towns vs big cities and cyberbullying insights

I recently visited one of the smallest schools in Prince Edward Island in our Island tour to recruit students to help host the International Stop Cyberbullying Youth Summit, Nov 9th, on the Island. The 4th - 10th graders combined were fewer than 40 kids.

I first talked with them about their thoughts on cyberbullying. One of the students asked me to tell everyone that "the same things happen in a tiny school as a big school."

I then asked why they thought that, coming form such a tiny school, they thought they had important things to share about cyberbullying that kids from bigger towns would list to.

One brave and articulate 9th grader shared her opinion in a confident way (that got her selected as one of my summit leaders!) "In a small school like ours in Belfast, everyone knows everything about everyone. When cyberbullying occurs, they all take sides. You can't hide. You have no privacy, no place to get away from it."

Very interesting perspective. I hadn't thought about that before.

That's why students run my international summits. They have things to say that none of the experts had thought about before.

We are almost fully subscribed and I expanded the summit to 800 participants, from 600. If you are interested in attending, visit If you want to join us by webcast, you can login to on Nov 9, from 7:30am ET to 4:30pm ET. No charge for either.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

"We're Canadians and We Are the Nicest Country in the World. And Prince Edward Islanders are the nicest people in Canada!" So there!

I have been touring Prince Edward Island from up West to down East, north shore to south shore, red sands to white...meeting Island kids from 4th to 12th grade. We have laughed alot, cried some, prayed and shouted. I have found some of the most talented, creative and caring kids in the world.

Last week, a fifth grader from Stratford called me out.

I am spending three weeks doing three presentations to students a day to find talent for our @youthsummitpei International Stop Cyberbullying Youth Summit being held in Prince Edward Island, Canada. It is less about them understanding the different names for the five cyberbullying methods and privacy settings but more about how they think, approach problems and communicate their ideas. The ones I select will be helping me run the summit, not just attend.

I was presenting to a few hundred 5th and 6th graders in Stratford (a connected and more affluent community near Charlottetown that mirrors US communities more than others I have discovered on the Island). I was provoking them to see how they stand up for their opinions.

"Take out your paper and pens," I instructed them. "This is the most important thing I will teach you. If you only learn one thing from me, this is it. AND, it will be on the test!" All eyes turned to me, ready to capture the utlimate truth about cyberbullying.

"If you are ever cyberbullied," I began, waiting for them to capture these golden words. "The first thing you must do..." giving them time to catch up. They looked up expectantly, and I continued. "is to cyberbully them back worse than they cyberbullied you!" I folded my arms and looked smug and confident.

The students had been briefed on my bio, how often I am on Dr. Phil, CNN and the like. They learned that I was a NY lawyer and one of five members of Facebook's International Safety Advisory Board. Everything they were told by their principal and school told them to trust me and learn from me. That created a problem for them. How could someone with my credentials be so wrong? They began looking at their classmates and sneaking glances at me to see if I was serious.

I waited them out. I was looking for some of them confident enough to challenge me. To stand up for what they knew was right.

A little girl, with Anne of Green Gables coloring lost it first. She balled her hands into tight fists, and slammed them down twice on her notebook balanced on her lap. "No! No!" she shouted as she leapt to her feet. "That's wrong, it's just wrong!" she said.

I looked at my Islander husband, trying not to grin. He had to look away to avoid breaking into laughter.

"What do you mean 'no'," I asked her. "Why is it wrong?"

She looked be straight in the eyes, her little hands balled on her hips, glaring and purple with rage. "It's wrong to cyberbully someone back. If it's wrong for them to do it to you, it's just as wrong for you to do it back!" Her friends nodded in support. The rest of the kids looked at me in terror, not sure what I would do.

"Well, it;s how we do it in NY!" I responded, holding my breath.

She stood up taller, jutted out her fifth grade chest, planted her feet firmly on the gym floor and shouted, "Well, this - isn't - NY!" (She punctuated every syllable.) "This is Canada! And Canada is the nicest country in the world!" She turned to make sure the crowd of 5th and 6th graders were with her. They all nodded in a worried way.

"And Prince Edward Island is the nicest province in Canada!" She gave me a "so-there" glare and sat down. The students burst into applause.

That's why I am on the Island. To live among people who appreciate niceness and take pride in being the nicest community in the nicest country in the world. Now you know why I am hosting a massive international summit on cyberbullying in Prince Edward Island.

To my friends and family in the NY metropolitan area, I think you are very nice too. :-)

Wednesday, October 09, 2013

Interesting Early Findings on Parents and Cyberbullying from Canada

We are hosting a huge international stopcyberbullying youth summit in Canada, Nov 9, 2013 @youthsummitpei. ( In advance of the summit we sent out a parents/grandparents/caregivers survey. The respondents were asked if their child had been cyberbullied. While the responses are still coming in, we have seen some early results that are very interesting.

Those who indicated that they child had been cyberbullied (about 17% of respondents so far) thought that adopting more laws was the most important step we can take to stop cyberbullying.

Those who indicated that their children had not been cyberbullied (or that they weren't sure if their children were cyberbullied) said that giving students empathy training was the most important step we can take to stop cyberbullying.

The results may not be as surprising as first thought. Parents who are frustrated with the system or trying to handle a cyberbullying situation when their own children are involved look for help. They look for law enforcement and criminal justice help.

Parents not yet caught in the cyberbullying drama whirlwind see long-term solutions as the best ones. Empathy training takes time to change attitudes. For every student taught empathy, the world around them is constantly teaching them to be reactive, hold grudges, be judgmental and act out.

So, what's the answer? Why do we have to choose? We don't. The good thing about a multi-stakeholder and multi-dimensional problem is that there are many levels of solutions, from prevention to remediation.

We need empathy training. Parents need it as much as students, the students tell us. Parents need to be more empathetic when their children come to them to report cyberbullying and bullying.

We need laws too. Not necessarily more of them, but better ones that are consistent across jurisdictions. And we need to enforce the laws we already have, improve law enforcement training and cooperation between the industry and investigators.

And, we need much more.