Canadian teens are being negatively and seriously impacted by the spread of sexual pictures and the social fallout that often occurs afterwards. These situations can result in youth being alienated, cyberbullied and often feeling alone and powerless in their ability to control their own lives.
Today, the Canadian Centre for Child Protection has joined with Mrs. Laureen Harper, families, police and educators to launch a new campaign called #ChangeTheStory to complement the revised NeedHelpNow.ca (NHN) site for youth. NeedHelpNow.ca is a national resource to help youth navigate the challenges with removing sexual pictures from the Internet, dealing with peers and providing information on the supports needed to help them manage such a crisis.
“We don’t want another family to face the devastating loss of a child due to a self/peer exploitation incident or cyberbullying,” says Lianna McDonald, Executive Director of the Canadian Centre for Child Protection. “We are optimistic that by raising awareness of NeedHelpNow.ca and by engaging teens in spreading messages of support and hope that we can better help those youth who are in crisis.”
The #ChangeTheStory campaign, developed by Cossette, is about empowering teens to take control of their own narrative and how their story is being told. Whether it is the story of a teen who has lost control of a sexual picture, a safe adult trying to help a youth in crisis, an acting out youth that regrets the actions taken – we all have the power to change the story.
“Canada is a country that embraces every young person’s individuality, worth and importance,” said Mrs. Harper. “Through this new campaign, the Canadian Centre for Child Protection will convey this message of empowerment and remind youth that they are not alone.”
To spread the word among Canadian youth, the Canadian Centre for Child Protection is hosting kick-off events at several high schools across the country to launch the #ChangeTheStory campaign. The digital and online advertising will promote the NeedHelpNow.ca resources through positive and provocative messaging to engage youth within social media. Several families who have experienced the loss of a child will also participate in these school events to promote the #ChangeTheStory campaign.
“The most powerful realization that we can all have is that no one can define who we are,” said Leah Parsons, mother of Rehtaeh Parsons. “Only we can define what we are and who we will become in this life. Always remember that you have the power to change your story and help others change theirs by allowing your worth to shine through.”
The NeedHelpNow.ca site has been reworked to make it easier for teens in crisis to access the information they need as quickly as possible to remove sexual images from sites. The revised website also includes information to support youth who have been impacted by cyberbullying and critical information for adults dealing with a youth in crisis.