Surrey youth are featured in a new video that aims to stop the non-consensual distribution of intimate images, as part of an anti-cyber-bullying campaign.
Launched on “Pink Shirt Day” (Wednesday, Feb. 24), the minute-long video asks youth “to break the chain by deleting the image and never forwarding – not even to a best friend,” according to a news release from Surrey City Hall.
The project was developed in collaboration with Surrey RCMP Operations Support and B.C. RCMP E-Division Youth Services.
The video, featuring 14- to 17-year-olds from the WRAParound program, Surrey Leadership Youth Council, Community Schools Partnership and Club Utopia, was filmed at City of Surrey’s SAFE Centre, Surrey City Hall and Surrey Libraries City Centre branch.
The project was created following two Surrey RCMP news releases in the spring and summer of 2020 highlighting the rise in sextortion cases among youth. Later, focus groups with 45 youth and more than 30 professionals (teachers, principals, counsellors and other youth workers) brought the issue into focus.
“Many children and youth do not realize that, in addition to the harm it causes the person in the image, being part of a chain that forwards that image could result in social, emotional and legal consequences for themselves,” said Colleen Kerr, manager of Community Safety Stakeholder Engagement. “This Pink Shirt Day, we are asking youth to show each other empathy, kindness and respect and to end the non-consensual distribution of intimate images.”
Between Feb. 24 and March 2, excluding weekends, the public can “show its support for the initiative” and enter into a draw for one of five pairs of AirPods, by sharing the #BlockEmDontShareEm video and tagging the City of Surrey on Facebook or Instagram with the hashtag #BlockEmDontShareEm. For more details, visit surrey.ca. Learn more about cyberbullying and non-consensual distribution of intimate images at justice.gc.ca.
Meantime, Surrey Board of Trade said Pink Shirt Day is a chance to remind people that bullying has no place in the workplace.
“The Surrey Board of Trade knows that businesses have a lot to focus on, but it is your employees and workplace culture that builds your bottom line,” CEO Anita Huberman said in a news release. “None of us are perfect when it comes to dealing with implementing workforce policies related to bullying and harassment. But we can try to move forward in small and meaningful steps within the resources that we have.”
Employers have a legal obligation to protect their employees from risks at work, which means creating an environment that is both physically and psychologically safe, Huberman added.