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#StepIn cyberbullying program designed to empower youth

An anti-cyberbullying program that aimed to engage children on the effective uses of technology wrapped up at a Calgary high school last week.

Project was designed by Mount Royal University student as part of practicum

Nursing student Jonathan Dennis talks to students about how to fight against cyberbullying. (CBC)

An anti-cyberbullying program that aimed to engage children on the effective uses of technology wrapped up at a Calgary high school last week.

The program, called #StepIn, was a four-part series of lessons designed to show youth how to detect cyberbullying.

Jonathan Dennis, a recent nursing grad from Mount Royal University, created the program. He says the goal is to help students talk about how to stand up to it.

"I would be equipping them and doing a normal lesson plan but then getting the kids to engage, so them making their own social advertisements saying 'Hey, if you're getting cyberbullied or if you witness cyberbullying as a witness, what are the things you can do?'" said Dennis.

#StepIn was aimed at students in Grade 8, which Dennis says is a common age for cyberbullying to begin. 

Julia Neis, a 13-year-old in the program, says she experienced cyberbullying in Grade 6.

"Everything from calling me ugly and fat to calling me worthless," said Neis. "You build up walls and you say, 'No, I'm not telling anyone.'"

Samuel W. Shaw School officials say they will implement some of the ideas and suggestions that came out of the program.

With files from CBC's Terri Trembath