In today's fast-paced digital world, young people face unique challenges when it comes to managing their sexuality and their sexual experiences online. It remains especially difficult for them to find reliable guidance and support when they encounter technology-facilitated sexual violence (TFSV), which includes harmful practices like sexual name-calling, non-consensual sharing of intimate images, online harassment, up-skirting, cyberstalking, and doxing. These issues have become pressing concerns in Canada and globally.
Parents, teachers, civil society organizations, and governments are all grappling with how to assist young people in navigating these emerging forms of violence. Governments, in particular, are facing mounting pressure to address TFSV among young individuals. Unfortunately, current legal and content moderation approaches have proven inadequate in addressing technology-facilitated harms. As such, the Canadian government is taking steps to develop new laws and policies to combat online harms and establish a Digital Charter for Canadians. It is crucial that the experiences and needs of young people inform these new approaches.
The primary focus of this project is to understand the educational, policy, and legal responses to TFSV across Canada. We aim to analyze the extent to which existing responses have adequately supported and educated young people in dealing with challenges such as TFSV. While research on the harmful effects of TFSV is growing, there is a need for empirical data about what young people know about TFSV, where they seek help when confronted with TFSV, and how they and others can protect them and promote safe, consensual, and enjoyable experiences. This knowledge is vital for developing effective interventions and policies.
Therefore, this project aims to achieve four objectives:
Explore the current educational messages, school policies, and legislation aimed at addressing TFSV.
Analyze the extent to which existing educational, legal, and policy responses to TFSV have provided adequate support and education in young people's everyday lives.
Identify what education, policies, and supports young people want to combat TFSV.
Create educational resources for young people and best practice recommendations for educators and policymakers.
By undertaking these objectives, we hope to contribute to a better understanding of TFSV and foster the development of practical solutions that empower young people to navigate digital spaces safely and responsibly.
Funding provided by: