Created by YWCA Canada in collaboration with MediaSmarts, Project Shift is a PDF guide for adults who want to better prepare girls and young women to navigate safely in the digital world.
This tool helps us to understand the issues surrounding young people’s online presence, to help them share their experience easier and to understand the impact of cyberviolence on their mental and physical health.
In addition, the guide offers a step-by-step procedure for collecting evidence of cyberviolence, as well as information on the security centres of various platforms. You will also find a section on Canadian laws relating to sexual cyberviolence.
Preventing and fighting cyberviolence
Surfing online can sometimes be threatening and dangerous for young people, especially girls and young women. Whether you are a parent, an education professional, an intervention worker or a member of the police, you can find useful tips and tools in Project Shift to help you prevent cyberviolence or support people who have experienced it.
In addition, this guide can be used to raise awareness among IT professionals about the importance of creating safer virtual content and environments.
Cyberviolence instills a strong sense of insecurity in its victims, that stays with them even outside the virtual realm. Furthermore, a very large number of people who have suffered cyberviolence will experience depressive symptoms.
Whether or not we know the person harassing us, whether or not it is our significant other, we must never downplay violent behaviour because it takes place online.
It is therefore important for the adults around young people to be well informed about the challenges of the virtual world, and to know the words to use and avoid in order to establish a relationship of trust that will enable them to feel listened to and respected.
Finally, whatever the context, victims of cyberviolence must be an integral part of the problem-solving process. Trying to protect them by cutting off their ties to the virtual world would only further their sense of isolation and deprive them of opportunities to improve their ability to cope with various situations, to defend themselves, etc.
YWCA Canada is the umbrella organization for all YWCAs across the country, including the YWCA Montreal. Its actions focus on policy development and advocacy. They also include educational projects and awareness-raising campaigns, especially with regard to gender-based violence.
MediaSmarts is a Canadian organization that develops programs and resources for media education and digital literacy. Its mission is to help young people develop critical thinking skills for more informed media use.