DARRYL KNIGHT The Standard
NORTH DURHAM: Students at R.H. Cornish Public School had a special visitor on Wednesday, Jan. 28, as April Reimer, wife of Toronto Maple Leafs goalie James Reimer, made a presentation at the Port Perry school to talk about TweetSweet, her ongoing campaign to combat on-line bullying.
Mrs. Reimer launched TweetSweet after she became the victim of social media harassment by Toronto Maple Leaf supporters. The initiative strives to have young people spread positive messages through online social networks, as she explained to The Standard.
“TweetSweet started because of what I went through last season,” said Mrs. Reimer. “It’s a way to make social networks a better place. All you have to do is say something kind of positive to someone else and add #TweetSweet, it could be on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook. And, twice a month I’m giving out Leafs tickets to a home game at Air Canada Centre, so TweetSweet just might get someone sweet seats.”
As she explained to the Grade 6, 7 and 8 students, cyberbulling is a recent invention that has far reaching implications.
“You bring your bullying home, and it’s on-line so the whole world can see it,” said Mrs. Reimer, adding that last year she had to involve police after receiving harassing calls and text messages on her cell phone.
“My Twitter story made national news. The other half of the story that not a lot of people know is that some fans managed to get my personal cell phone number and would text and call me,” she told the students. “Even at age 12, if you do something like that, you could potentially have a criminal record that could follow you the rest of your life.”
During her presentation, Mrs. Reimer provided students with tips on how they can get help if they are a victim of cyberbullying. According to Mrs. Reimer, more than 50 per cent of teens have been bullied on-line, with 25 per cent bullied on a daily basis.
“It’s a lot easier to say mean things to a screen rather than to someone’s face. Sometimes, we forget that there is a real person on the other side of that wall,” explained Mrs. Reimer during a portion of the presentation that had her sit on the opposite side of a blackboard as students read actual, mean spirited messages she had received on-line.
“I’m 25-years-old, and I’m a cyber bullying victim. This is not a high-school or middle-school issue, this is a life issue. It affects everybody, even adults,” added Mrs. Reimer. “Sticks and stones is a lie, words do hurt. But, you can get help. You have a choice and you have a voice. For every bad message, I probably received 1,000 good ones. The change can start with you.”
For more information about the #TweetSweet campaign, please visit www.tweetsweet.ca, which includes helpful links if you’ve been the victim of cyberbullying.
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