Two Vancouver parents are suing an all-girls private school, claiming their daughter has been viciously bullied by classmates for years and calling on the federal government to ban social media apps that serve as “a breeding ground for hate.”
Natalie and Uwe Boll, both restaurateurs and filmmakers, have filed a civil claim against Crofton House in connection to a string of alleged incidents between their daughter and another student that have gone on for two years.
In an online petition, Natalie Boll said her daughter, now in Grade 8, has received anonymous messages on the social media apps Tellonym and YOLO telling her to kill herself and “drink bleach,” and threatening gang rape.
|A message allegedly received by a B.C. girl who attended Crofton House, an all-girl private school in Vancouver. (Natalie Boll/Change.org)|
The bullying came to a head at the beginning of the school year, she said, when the girl overdosed on Xanax in a school washroom. She was later admitted to BC Children’s Hospital on two occasions for self-harming related behaviour, Natalie said, and attends a different school.
The Bolls claim Crofton House, which teaches pre-school to Grade 12, did not do enough to intervene amid spiraling racism, bullying and homophobia.
None of the allegations has been proven in court.
Once a parent called me from my daughter’s school @Crofton_House. Your daughter is like a wounded animal, & the girls bullying her are like sharks seeing blood. That’s why she is getting attacked. I am surprised your daughter doesn’t fight back? #school #bully #timetotalk pic.twitter.com/wqJTUNICXr
— Natalie Boll (@NatalieLizBoll) December 14, 2019
In a statement to Black Press Media, head of school Ena Harrop said she does not agree with the characterization of events as portrayed in the lawsuit, and that the school plans to defend itself.
“While the school cannot share information on specific incidents, investigations, or members of our community, the concerns raised were thoroughly investigated, including working with our Vancouver Police Department liaison officer, and where warranted, actions were taken in line with our code of conduct,” Harrop said.
She added that the school’s curriculum includes lessons on bullying and cyber safety, and that teachers regularly talk with students about the impact of negative social interactions in person and online.
Mom wants social media apps banned
Natalie’s petition calls on the federal government to ban the two social media apps, saying no child should be subject to that type of harassment.
“Both the Apple App Store and Google Play have policies against bullying and harassment, and our Canadian government spends thousands of dollars on anti-bullying campaigns and mental health for our children,” the petition reads.
As of Wednesday morning, the petition had received about 450 signatures.
In a similar case in Australia, Apple and Google dropped the hugely popular social media app Sarahah after a mother said it helped facilitate bullying.
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BC-born Trybe social media app's award system connects with Nickelback singer – Agassiz-Harrison Observer
Dan Swinimer helped gather a tribe to launch a new app he hopes will disrupt the world of social media and websites where things are bought and sold.
Currently beta-tested for public launch, the Trybe platform counts Nickelback singer/guitarist Chad Kroeger among its four “founders/angels,” along with Swinimer, his father Bill and fellow Surrey-area musician/construction company boss Felipe Freig.
“We set out to try and monetize social media, while making it a safer and more positive experience,” said Swinimer, who lives in the Clayton area of Surrey. “We felt it unfair that social media users do all the work, provide all the content but make none of the profits.”
Trybe is based on an award system that sends as little as 10 cents per “like,” coupled with a built-in “win-win” for users, as Swinimer describes it.
“Every time you award someone else’s post, you get exposure for your own post which gives you a better chance of your post being seen and also making money in awards,” he told the Now-Leader.
“It’s turned into a thing, it really has,” added the Ontario-raised Swinimer. “We sold shares and raised almost $2 million, we have head offices in Toronto, a CEO (Thomas Jankowski) and staff of 10 coders. It’s turned into so much more than we originally conceived.”
In the late-2000s, Swinimer and Freig were members of the rock band Jet Black Stare when they met Kroeger, who shared a manager at the time.
A couple of years ago, Frieg told Swinimer about an issue involving his teen son, Jadis, who’d been posting video of his scooter-riding tricks to social media.
“You can’t even believe the tricks that this kid can do on the scooter, it’s amazing,” Swinimer said. “His son didn’t have any sponsors at that point, but he was spending hours and hours every day practicing, getting really, really good, and then he spent his own money buying all this video equipment and editing software. So he’d spend four or five hours a day practicing, learning tricks, videoing them from multiple angles, then he’d edit these videos just so that he could post them on social media. And what does he get for that? The ‘likes,’ and that’s it. He’d been doing this for awhile, and we realized that with the social media model, everyone is providing the product and getting nothing in return.”
After Swinimer and Freig talked some more, they clicked on the idea for Trybe as a way to monetize social media.
“It’s a platform where if you post something, you have a chance to make money on that post,” Swinimer elaborated. “When people post to social media, the most important thing is content, connecting with people and receiving validation from others. So imagine if you mixed in the possibility of making money and also having complete control over how many people will see your posts.… The more people I reward, the more people will see my posts, and the more chance I have of making money on my posts. If the content is good and views-to-engagement ratio is high, it also drives exposure to the post, so that lights a little fire under the post.”
Out of the gate, Kroeger had the level of celebrity pull sought by Swinimer and Freig for Trybe.
“We discussed it with Chad and right away, he was excited about it because he could see how it could transform the music business,” Swinimer recalled. “It could completely disrupt the entire distribution chain, because it’s a pain in the ass going through iTunes, which takes a lot of the proceeds. So what about a world where you post new music on Trybe and you just say, if you give anyone who rewards this post a dollar or more, gets a download code, and now you’re keeping all the money that comes in, as opposed to just half of it.”
Right now, to get early access to the app, users join a waitlist by downloading the iOS or Android app from trybe.ly.
New social platform Trybe has launched. No more giving away your creativity and time to social media giants. The new way-Social. Be yourself, be with your people, get rewards. See you on there https://t.co/phgzFBEDSY #trybe #startup #social #passioneconomy #creators #influencers pic.twitter.com/N36cM51Ltp
— Nickelback (@Nickelback) September 24, 2020
On Wednesday (Sept. 23), Nickelback raved about Trybe’s launch to the band’s 738,000 followers on the rival Twitter platform: “No more giving away your creativity and time to social media giants. The new way — Social. Be yourself, be with your people, get rewards. See you on there.” A day later, Avril Lavigne posted the same message for her 21 million followers on Twitter.
Swinimer says Kroeger is “very involved” in the project, and likes to be in the meetings when and where he can, including the time when the four Trybe founders flew in Kroeger’s private jet to Silicon Valley.
“We didn’t tour with Nickelback (with Jet Black Stare) back then, but toured with a lot of their friends, like 3 Doors Down, Hinder and Staind,” Swinimer recalled. “For someone of his level of recognition, Chad is very accessible to musicians. He’s not hard to find and he’s happy to talk to people. One night he took us out to celebrate our record deal when we first signed it, so that was kind of our first foray. He took us out to the Commodore Ballroom because Kid Rock was doing a special invite-only show there. So we’re in his little VIP section, and then we went to some penthouse suite afterwards to hang out. It was weird, man, because to that point it was all independent music, never getting anywhere, and all the sudden we’re partying with Kid Rock. It was a wild ride.”
In the decade since those rock-band days, after Jet Black Stare’s record deal with Island Def Jam had collapsed, Swinimer turned his attention to country music and launching the careers of musicians including Madeline Merlo and Jojo Mason. “I’ve been living in Surrey for 20 years,” he noted. “I built my production company here and have written/produced upwards of 40 hit songs since startup.”
As for Trybe, the app’s public release should be in a month or so, he said.
“We’re doing a system where we are making it very exclusive and making people excited about it, to get in early. We have multiple celebrities on board to get behind this new idea once we are public. It’s exciting.”
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