Queen's Gazette | Queen's University

Search form

Challenging today's youth

Queen’s-based PREVNet hosting virtual town hall to empower youth to change the culture of bullying.

PREVNet scientific co-director Wendy Craig is hosting a Youth Town Hall in Ottawa on Wednesday that will also be live on Facebook.

Canadian youth are being challenged to support youth who are being bullied and create solutions for bullying.

Queen’s University researcher Wendy Craig, York University researcher Debra Pepler, and the Queen’s-based Promoting Relationships and Eliminating Violence Network (PREVNet) are hosting a Youth Town Hall to promote discussion around the prevention of bullying. The event will feature virtual and live components on what healthy relationships look like, and how they can be supported. This event is the culmination of PREVNet's Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada’s Partnership Award, and anyone interested in issues of bullying prevention, wellness and the importance of healthy relationships is encouraged to participate.

The virtual town hall runs Wednesday, Nov. 15 starting at 4:30 pm. Members of the public are encouraged to join the conversation online on Facebook. PREVNet's National Youth Advisory Commitee will also officially launch its public education campaign, #Spreadkindness, about the importance of healthy relationships.

Get Involved
The virtual town hall runs Wednesday, Nov. 15 starting at 4:30 pm. Members of the public are encouraged to join the conversation online on Facebook.

Dr. Craig explains over 100 youth have been invited to the event at the Canadian Museum of History in Ottawa. The event will be moderated by Senator Marc Gold. For 10 years Senator Gold was the chair of ENSEMBLE for the respect of diversity, a not-for-profit organization that works with youth to build a more open and inclusive society.

“It’s absolutely critical that youth lead bullying prevention initiatives and that adults stand behind them,” says PREVNet Co-Director Dr. Craig, one of Canada’s leading bullying prevention advocates. “In 85 per cent of bullying episodes there are other youth there and if they step in within 10 seconds, the bullying stops. Empowering youth to take charge is important and hearing their voices is important.”

PREVNet is Canada’s authority on research and resources for bullying prevention, with a network of 130 leading Canadian research scientists and 60 national youth-serving organizations.

Dr. Debra Pepler, PREVNet’s Scientific Co-Director, outlines a number of challenges that will be addressed at the conference:

  • Canada ranks poorly – 25th of 28 rich countries on the quality of children’s relationships with their parents and peers
  • Canada also ranks poorly on rates of bullying and victimization
  • Bullying leads to genetic changes that result in depression
  • Research shows that the impact of victimization can last over 40 years
  • Involvement in bullying lays the foundation for dating aggression, intimate partner violence, child maltreatment, and workplace bullying
  • Despite 50 per cent reduction in rate of bullying in the past 10 years in Canada, there are still 2 million Canadian school-aged children directly impacted by bullying

“What we are doing is starting to work but there is still work to do,” says Dr. Craig. “This town hall is a unique opportunity to motivate and inspire youth to get involved.”