International Day of the Girl marked with push to end cyberbullying and online harassment

On Sunday, women celebrated International Day of the Girl, with some pushing social media giants like Instagram to do more to combat online bullying.

“The issue is massive and certainly unacceptable the way it is today,” said Plan International Canada's Director of Gender Equality Saadya Hamdani.

An open letter to companies like Instagram, Facebook, Tik Tok and Twitter has garnered tens of thousands of signatures. A recent survey of teen girls around the world found more than half have experienced cyberbullying or harassment. Some said they feel safer walking in the street than they do on social media.

One in five girls said they've had to leave social media platforms.

“That's really horrible to see so many people engaging in this type of behaviour,” said youth activist Ramandeep. “This is a really big issue because it's silencing girls' voices online.”

Hamdani noted that making cyberspace more secure is more important than ever during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“With COVID-19, with many more individuals transitioning their lives online, this is such an important space,” she said. “If it's going to actually harm girls, rather than have the very positive effects it can have, then we really need to look at this seriously.”

SIGN UP NOW

Stay up-to-date and in-the-know by subscribing to one of our newsletters