Group Chat - A Free Video Resource
"C’mon, we’re all doing it!"
Have you heard this line before? Peer pressure, social tensions, and violence among youth is not new. Only the popular technology used to influence behviour has changed, and once again, young people have mastered it. In this ever-evolving electronic world, as technology and social development meet, young people always seem to be one step ahead of those that try to intervene early in violent behaviours; often educators, parents, and mentors.
Youth have always mastered the trendy and avant-garde technologies of their times. Leading their development, testing the capabilities in ever more creative and involving ways. This often facilitates beautiful expressions of one’s self and environment that can be incredibly healthy and fulfilling. But, for all things there must be balance. Converse to the positive expression, technology can also facilitate the expression of harmful, violent, and even criminal behaviour.
The world of cyberbullying - intimidation, humiliation, spamming, harassment, and other harmful tech-facilitated violent behaviours. The trouble for concerned caregivers is that these tech-facilitated communications cannot be seen, heard, or touched. And what’s more, is that the ever-changing evolution of these communication technologies will inhibit a caregiver’s ongoing ability to recognize, intervene, and ultimately treat the youth affected.
We decided to investigate this ongoing issue with our friends at Campus Regina Public in Regina, SK. Working with grade 11 students in the “Advanced Media Production & Content Creation Program”, first we discussed issues that were affecting their mental health and social wellbeing. Then, we invited this class to participate hands-on in the production of a short video project on a relevant topic to their daily lives - cyberbullying.
What we heard from this class, and what has been documented in surveys collected from hundreds of youth in Saskatchewan, is that the majority of communication happens online, and that cyberbullying had risen to become the most prominent form of bullying. - SAYCW "Youth Health Survey Report 2016"
By the mid 2010’s, a technological shift in communication had already occurred long before the youth of today’s school years began. These youth have always felt pressure to join in these new, ever evolving online worlds of communication, a prominent example of which being “group chats”. These multi-user chat spaces are created for seemingly every social circle. Some chats are with family, some are just for friends. Some chats are for sports and rec groups, video games, events, parties… You name it, there is a group chat for it. Two years of online learning supported group chats between classmates and coworkers, teachers and students, further driving much of social behaviour to be expressed online, and further creating an implied approval from authority that online communication is appropriate in most circumstances.
The relation between social media, and to an extent communication platforms, is only now starting to become linked to depression, anxiety, and other social stressors. Suicide rates have been steadily rising among youth in Saskatchewan, with suicidal plans and thoughts also being reported by higher and higher percentages of youth (SAYCW study). Behaviours like targeted harassment, privacy violations, social exclusion, and other harmful actions have migrated to the online space with ease. Youth take advantage of the idea that parents, teachers, mentors, and other caregivers are unaware of the harmful communications taking place online. - SAYCW "Thriving Youth, Thriving Communities 2019" Report
As mental health becomes a validated subject as we as caregivers do our best to prevent injuries and promote life, an acute awareness of the modern issues effecting youth is a must in a caregiver's quest to prepare youth with the tools they need to achieve their best.
New electronic venues of communication, like “group chats”, are part of a digital world that youth have been forced to learn all on their own. By connecting these modern communication trends facing youth today, to the lessons we have learned from bullying and harassment in the past, we can better care for students and youth to ensure they are prepared to deal with the psychological pitfalls of these modern challenges.
Looking for resources?
FREE Mental Health Wellness Resiliency Training: https://www.sasksafety.org/online.html
Sasktel Be Kind Online: https://bekindonline.com/
Saskatchewan Advocate for Children & Youth: https://www.saskadvocate.ca/
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The 3rd Annual Cade Sprackman Safety Day, held on June 1st at the Hudson Bay Community School, was an inspirational example of what a community dedicated to injury prevention can do. With the help of community volunteers, grades K-6 participated in a bike rodeo, and outdoor survival lessons. Grades 7–12 students interacted with several industry and health professionals, learning about a variety of workplace and recreational safety topics throughout the day.
Cade Sprackman was a Hudson Bay Community School graduate, who was fatally injured in a workplace incident. Cade’s story is always remembered in this community, and we thank the Sprackman family for sharing their experience. Saskatchewan workers under the age of 25 are at the highest risk of injury, with over 3,000 injuries being reported annually. On June 1st, 2022, Hudson Bay, SK showed us the power of a community inspired to prevent young people from being injured or killed.
To kick off the event, Cade’s parents, Michelle and Jerry Sprackman, delivered a speech that inspired students, teachers, and community volunteers. With the audience’s focus squarely on them, they spoke about Cade’s journey. From Hudson Bay to Saskatoon, inspired by his dream of attending arts school, Cade committed himself to a hazardous new job to earn money for his education. Three weeks into his new position, Cade suffered a fatal injury. This was a powerful message for the youth in attendance, coming from parents who are forever inspired to see their community prevent young workers from harm. A quiet, focused gymnasium was reminded how precious life truly is.
As the students began activities for the day, it was apparent they were having fun interacting with the 32 Skill Demonstration Stations that cycle through the Amazing Safety Quest. K-6 students enjoyed a bike rodeo, as well as demonstrations centered around water safety, farm safety, and outdoor safety. Grades 7–12 learned the importance of being safe at work, practicing skills that ensure health and safety are present in every workplace. With many of these students already employed part-time, the hands-on training came at a very opportune time for them.
Feedback received from students indicated that they enjoyed learning about the injury prevention topics through hands-on activities. A team named “Team Tigers” shared that “The Amazing Safety Quest kept us engaged about safety” and that “All of the activities were fun”. Each Team in the Amazing Safety Quest also voted for their favorite Skill Demonstration Station. For some, it was the Mental Health station, for others it was ladder safety, an AED station, the ATV station, a fatal impairment activity, distracted walking, or the lift and carry station. Collecting points through their “Team Passport”, the teams enjoyed a competitive element, spurring their motivation to score high at each station.
Teachers and Community volunteers mentioned how phenomenal it was to see so many local organizations coming together for this year’s Cade Sprackman Safety Day. The station volunteers were made up of local volunteers from health, education, and industry. One volunteer said:
The day prior, grade 10-12 students completed an in-person Defensive Driving Course which emphasized the importance of becoming a defensive driver on the road, citing law requirements, safe driving behaviors, and best practice techniques. Hudson Bay, like many Saskatchewan communities, relies on secondary and rural roads. Youth can use the tools and standards learned in the course to evaluate their own driving.
The Saskatchewan Safety Council will continue to share Cade’s story, to help promote the importance of safety training and to prevent injuries and fatalities in the workplace. Career Safety Education is a FREE online program for youth in Saskatchewan, and with the support of our annual Members, Sponsors, and Donations, a wide variety of additional training is FREE for everyone in the province. Grade 10–12 students completed Career Safety Education before the annual Cade Sprackman Safety Day.
Do you feel an Amazing Safety Quest could benefit your community? You can host your own Amazing Safety Quest, and the materials will be provided for you to do so. Contact Us for materials and information!
The Saskatchewan Safety Council has partnered with the Ministry of Education to review and provide feedback on strengthening injury prevention and safety procedures and practices in Saskatchewan curriculums. What will change for Saskatchewan students, educators, and school communities?
The MOU that has been signed forms an integral part of the Community Safety Education Strategy.
What is the Community Safety Education Strategy?
The Community Safety Education Strategy (CSES) was created in 2019 to provide school divisions a unified strategic approach to ensure education stakeholders are informed, involved, and engaged in creating a culture of safety for students, employees, and community.
Why was the Community Safety Education Strategy created?
A solution to ending our provincial unintentional injury epidemic lies in teaching future generations injury prevention values at an early age. Developing a cultural norm with injury prevention as a core value, however, takes a collaborative effort among students, parents, staff, community members, government, and industry. The Community Safety Education Strategy provides the necessary structure for this initiative.
Integral to the strategy are four pillars:
How does the Saskatchewan Safety Council contribute to this strategy?
The Saskatchewan Safety Council has focused attention on High Quality Teaching and Learning. In December 2021, Saskatchewan Safety Council and Saskatchewan Ministry of Education signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the intent to support and enable Saskatchewan curriculums to incorporate injury prevention (safety) outcomes and indicators where appropriate; and provide injury prevention resources that are supported by industry with best practice standards in health and safety.
The Ministry of Education Curriculum Unit reviews new and renewed curriculum documents that are used by teachers. Working closely with the Saskatchewan Safety Council Community Safety Education Strategy Coordinator, Barbara Compton; B.ED & M.ED Curriculum and Instruction, two-way communication is facilitated with feedback being provided on opportunities to strengthen injury prevention and safety procedures and practices.
The Council works with the Ministry of Education to provide safety expertise from Canadian Registered Safety Professionals (CRSP's) in developing outcomes and indicators that will be embedded in new and existing curriculums.
The Council works with the ministry to either source appropriate resources, or where resources cannot be found, create custom resources to meet learning outcomes. Ministry approved resources are then posted on the provincial curriculum website to ensure teachers, regardless of geographical locations, have access to valuable teaching tools.
What does this mean for the education community?
The intended goal of this MOU is well-informed students, surrounded by healthy physical and social environments in community that supports living injury free. Though there is now a structure in place to ensure high quality learning outcomes are reached, this process needs feedback from those on the front lines in Saskatchewan education settings to cite areas where improvement is needed.
Educators that deliver these curriculums will be in position to identify opportunities to include or improve injury prevention language and skills. As injury prevention finds its way into curriculums, educators embracing these changes will champion injury prevention and safety skills for youth, paving the way for improved injury prevention outcomes not only in the workplace, but in recreation, leisure, and all areas of life as well.
Looking for easy-to-use safety education material? Free Community Safety Resources are available.