Editorial: Pink Shirt Day takes on cyberbullying

In today’s digital world, it can be a challenge to escape online negativity, whether it takes the shape of harassment, spreading rumours, sharing embarrassing information or posting threats. In fact, nearly one-in-five young Canadians aged 15 to 29 have reported being cyberbullied or cyberstalked.

Focusing on cyberbullying, this year’s Pink Shirt Day is Wednesday, Feb. 28.

The 2018 official Pink Shirt Day t-shirt proclaims ‘Nice Needs No Filter,’ offering a message of possibility: Possibility that with education and encouragement, the World Wide Web can be a more kind and positive space.

“This year we are focused on encouraging everyone — no matter what age — to think twice before posting something negative online, and instead use the internet to spread kindness. Together we can prevent the harm and devastation that cyberbullying causes in our communities, schools and neighbourhoods,” says Sara Dubois-Phillips, executive director of the CKNW Orphans’ Fund.

Earlier this month, The NEWS published an editorial asking for people on our Facebook page and website to use a little more respect when commenting.

Since that editorial, our newsroom has noticed people refraining from swearing and name calling on our Facebook and website.

Official Pink Shirt Day t-shirts are now available at all London Drugs locations in youth or adult sizes. Net proceeds are distributed through CKNW Orphans’ Fund to support youth anti-bullying programs in B.C. and throughout western.

Thousands of Canadians are expected to wear pink to show their support for safe and inclusive schools, workplaces and communities.

In Parksville Qualicum Beach, local schools are participating in the annual event, encouraging students to wear pink on Wednesday. Ballenas Secondary School’s leadership group has even created its own t-shirt contest called “Dude, Be Nice,” and is encouraging people to share their random acts of kindness.

In many ways the internet has become the wild west and a place where hatred trumps kindness. But that’s the way it is now. If we teach our children love and respect, if we all think about what we post online, we can help make a difference and make the world a more positive place.

It might just be a pink t-shirt, but it represents a chance for change. Be that change, and we’ll all be in the pink.

— Black Press

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