Retired police sergeant promotes cyber awareness
Retired Saskatoon Police Service Sgt. Brian Trainor — and many of his generation — did not see cyber-bullying coming.
© Justin Crann
Retired police sergeant Brian Trainor lectures on the importance of cyber awareness in the Peacock Collegiate auditorium Thursday evening.
"We weren't (aware of it), and I think it's a generational thing. We weren't raised with the technology, and so it never occurred to us back then that bullying was going to be on the Internet," Trainor explained. "As early as 2000, we started to look at sites like Myspace and some of these things … (but) it all depended on whether the officer was tech savvy or not."
Trainor delivered a modestly attended lecture for parents and members of the community about cyber awareness in the Peacock Collegiate auditorium Thursday.
In an interview with the Times-Herald following his lecture, Trainor stressed the importance of parents keeping in touch with technology.
"Most parents are not technologically savvy," he said. "Younger parents, and first-time parents in their early 20s, are a lot better with technology than older parents … but they're still behind.
"Technology changes so fast. Even a 21-year-old mother can't keep up with it, because she's so busy with her toddler. But it's incumbent that we somehow take the time to learn about it. … They're eager to learn, but there is this trepidation. Kids don't have that fear."
Trainor said his goal is to stem the damage that cyber-bullying, a relatively recent but quickly growing phenomenon, can cause.
"A major impetus for me to do this (is) to try and get these kids to stop cyber-bullying, and if they are being cyber-bullied, to help them," said Trainor. "(The goal is) preventing future mental health issues in kids who are experiencing cyber-bullying now, such as anxiety problems, depression, and suicide."
In his lecture, Trainor touched briefly on the Rehtaeh Parsons suicide as an extreme example of the consequences of cyber-bullying.
He said many cyber-bullies don't fully understand the impact their actions can have on the peers they victimize.
"Kids have no idea where their actions can actually lead. They live in the now, not the future, and that's the problem. They don't think about the consequences until afterward," he said. "That's something we have to start teaching them, and I think it has to be taught at home, while they're young."
"There's too much emphasis put on the teachers and education system to raise children into good adults," he said. "That's the parents' responsibility, not the school's."