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Shaheen Shariff

Associate Professor

shaheen [dot] shariff [at] mcgill [dot] ca (E-mail)    "Define the Line" Web Site    People Page
Phone: 514-398-5396

Room 312, Education Building

Areas of interest

  • Policy development on intersection of law, education and technology (particular focus on law and policy relating to cyberbullying; social networking, including constitutional law (free expression, privacy; discrimination); tort law (cyber-libel and negligence); human rights law (cyber-harassment); criminal law (criminal threats).
  • Leadership and policy.
  • Diversity and pluralism (social, cultural and organizational contexts of education including ethnic, legal, gender and religious influences).

Description of research/teaching activities

My research and teaching are grounded in the study of legal considerations that impact educational policy and practice. I am currently principal investigator on three SSHRC funded projects:

1) to study school policy and legal boundaries involving cyber-bullying and internet harassment;

2) to study the impact of Quebec’s intercultural policies on ethnic students and

3) an international study that looks at online interactions of children and youth and stakeholder responsibilities. I am an associate of the Centre for Human Rights and Legal Pluralism at McGill’s Law Faculty.

Academic Affiliations

2010 – 2014, Affiliate Scholar, CIS - The Centre for Internet and Society, Stanford University Law School, California, U.S.A.


  • The Queen’s Golden Jubilee Medal for contributions to Canada.
  • Facebook Award on Digital Citizenship


Define the Line – An interactive resource website for Policy-makers, Teachers, Parents Teenagers and Children launched May 19, 2011. The website is informed by scholarship on cyber-bullying towards enhancing Digital Citizenship partnered with Lester B. Pearson School Board and Commission Scolaire school boards in Quebec.

Selected publications/presentations


Shariff, S. (2nd Edition under contract, 2012). Confronting Cyberbullying: What schools need to know to control misconduct and avoid legal consequences. New York: Cambridge University Press. Manuscript for Cambridge University Press.

Shariff, S. (2011-12, in press) Ciberbullying: questoes e solcoes para a escola, a sala de aula e a familia. Porto Alegre, Brazil: Artmed. [Translation of Cyber-bullying: Issues and solutions for the school, the classroom, and the home,for distribution to schools across Brazil].

Shariff, S. and Churchill, A. (Eds.) (2009). Truths and myths of cyber-bullying: International perspectives on stakeholder responsibility and children’s safety. New York, NY: Peter Lang.

Shariff, S. (2009). Confronting Cyber-bullying: What schools need to know to control misconduct and avoid legal consequences. New York: Cambridge University Press. Review at First Amendment Center.

Shariff, S. (2008). Cyber-bullying: Issues and solutions for the school, the classroom, and the home. Abington, Oxfordshire, UK: Routledge (Taylor & Frances Group). Review at www.tcrecord.org. [Translation rights sold to Portuguese publisher, Artmed Editora, South America].

Shariff, S., & Johnny, L. (2007). Censorship! . . . or . . . selection?: Confronting a curriculum of orthodoxy through pluralistic models. Rotterdam, Netherlands: Sense Publishing.

Books in Progress

Shariff, S. (Ed.)Girls and the Internet. Prospectus under review by Cambridge University Press.

Refereed Book Chapters

Shariff, S. (in press, 2012). Courting Digital Citizenship: Should we rely on courts or schools? In (Ria Hanewald, Deakin University, Ed, 2012). From cyberbullying to cyber safety: Issues and approaches in educational contexts. Nova Science Publishers, Inc., NSW:Australia.

Cowie, H., Bauman, S., Coyne, I., Myers, C. and Shariff, S. (accepted, 2012, in progress).

Cyberbullying amongst university students: continuities and discontinuities. In (Peter K. Smith and Georges Steffgen, Eds, 2012). Cyberbullying: Coping with negative and enhancing positive uses of new technologies in relationships in educational settings. Chapter 8.

Shariff, S. (2012). Defining the Line: From Cyber-bullying to Digital Citizenship. In J. Beheshti & A. Large (Eds.), Children’s Information Behaviour. Scarecrow Press. Ch. 9: 195-212.

Shariff, S., & Johnny, L. (2008). Child rights in cyberspace: Protection, participation and privacy. In T. O'Neill & D. Zinga (Eds.), Children's rights: Theory, policy and practice. Toronto: ONT: University of Toronto Press, (pp. 219-244).

Jaishankar, K. & Shariff, S. (2007). Cyber-bullying: A transnational perspective. In F. Schmallager and M. Pittaro (Eds.) Crimes of the Internet. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall, 66-83.

Shariff, S. & L. Johnny. (2007). Critical Media Literacy to Counter Muslim Stereotypes. In D.Macedo and S. Steinberg (Eds.), Handbook of Critical Media Literacy. Ch. 52, (pp.603-635), New York: Peter Lang.

Shariff, S., & Gouin, R. (2006). Cyber-hierarchies: A new arsenal of weapons for gendered violence in schools. In F. Leach & C. Mitchell (Eds.), Combating gender violence in and around schools, (pp. 33-41), Stoke-on-Trent, UK: Trentham Books.

Shariff, S., & Strong-Wilson, T. (2005). Bullying and new technologies: What can teachers do to foster socially responsible discourse in the physical and virtual school environments? In J. Kincheloe (Ed.), Classroom teaching: An introduction (pp. 219-240), New York: Peter Lang.

Book Chapters in Progress

Shariff, S., Gomez, C., and Talwar,V. Cyber-jokes, cyber-libel or cyber-bullying?: The policy dilemma for schools.

Refereed Journal Articles and Research Papers

Shariff, S., Wiseman, A., and Crestohl, L. (in press, 2012). Defining the Lines between Children’s Vulnerability to Cyberbullying and the Open Court Principle: Implications of A.B. v. Bragg Communications Inc. Education & Law Journal. Vol. 21.3. Carswell.

Retter, C. and Shariff, S. (in press, 2012). A Delicate Balance: Defining the Line Between Open Civil Proceedings and the Protection of Children in the Online Digital Era. Canadian Journal of Law & Technology, Vol. 10, No. 2. Dalhousie University, Nova Scotia.

Shariff, S. (in press, 2012). Mapping Global Perspectives on Cyberbullying. A global review of emerging research relating to on-line peer violence and digital communication among youth [Commissioned research paper UNICEF Innocenti Research Centre, Florence, Italy].

Gomez-Garibello, C., Shariff, S., McConnell, M., Talwar, V. (in press 2012). Adolescents’ Evaluation of Cyberbullying Events., Alberta Journal of Educational Research.

Beran T, Stanton L, Hetherington R, Mishna F, Shariff S. (2012). Development of the Bullying and Health Experiences Scale Interact. Journal of Medical Internet Research (JMIR). J. Med Res 2012; 1(2):e13.

Beran, T., Mishna, F., Heatherington, R., and Shariff, S. (under review). Children’s Experiences of Cyber-bullying: A Canadian National Study. Submitted to Pediatrics.

Shariff, S., & Hoff, D. L. (2007, January). Cyber-bullying: Clarifying legal boundaries for school supervision in cyberspace. International Journal of Cyber Criminology, see web site

Shariff, S., & Johnny, L. (2007). Cyber-libel and cyber-bullying: Can schools protect student reputations and free-expression in virtual environments? Education & Law Journal, 16 (3), 307-342.

Shariff, S., & Gouin, R. (2006). Cyber-dilemmas: Gendered hierarchies, new technologies and cyber-safety in schools. Atlantis - A Women’s Studies Journal, 31 (1), 26-36.

Shariff, S. (2006). Balancing competing rights: A stakeholder model for democratic schools. [Special issue: Democracy and Education]. Canadian Journal of Education, 29 (2), 476-496.

Shariff, S. (2006). Cyber-dilemmas: Balancing free expression and learning in the virtual school environment. International Journal of Learning, 12 (4), 269-278. Electronic version.

Shariff, S. (2005). Cyber-dilemmas in the new millennium: Balancing free expression and student safety in cyber-space. [Special Issue: Schools and courts: Competing rights in the new millennium]. McGill Journal of Education, 40 (3), 467-487.

Shariff, S. (2004). Travel and terror: Re-allocating, minimizing and managing risks of foreign excursions and out-door education field trips. Education & Law Journal, 14, 137-165.

Shariff, S. (2004, April). Keeping schools out of court: Legally defensible models of leadership. The Educational Forum, 68 (3), 222-233.

Invited Journal Articles

Shariff, S. (submitted). Cyber-bullying and Social Capital: The role of “virtual wealth” in on-line friendships. Invited article for publication in one of two South American journals: Patio Revista Pedagogica and Patio - Educacao Infantil [to be translated into Portuguese by Artmed SA.]

Book Reviews Published in Peer Reviewed Journals

Shariff, S. (in press, 2012). Review of Patchin, J.W. and Hinduja, S. (Eds. 2012), Cyberbullying Prevention and Response: Expert Perspectives. New York and London: Routledge (Taylor & Francis Group) New Media and Society. Sage Publications. Lake Forest: Illinois, USA.

Selected Invited Articles and Encyclopaedia Contributions

Shariff, S. and Retter, C. (2012). Confronting Cyberbullying: Defining the Lines between Ethical Choices and Jail Terms. Cambridge University Press Legal Department. Selected best blog by Columbia University Press.

Shariff, S. (2011). Defining the Lines on Cyberbullying: Navigating a balance between child protection, privacy, autonomy and informed policy. Commentary, Research Watch, UNICEF Innocenti Research Centre, Florence, Italy.

Invited policy Submissions and Government Reports

Shariff, S. (April, 30, 2012). Invited submission to Canadian Senate Committee on Human Rights, Parliament Hill, Ottawa, on Canada’s obligations under Article 19 of the International Convention of the Rights of the Child on addressing cyberbullying.

Shariff, S. (2011). Invited submission to the Australian Parliament on Cyber-bullying. Invited by the Australian Parliament Committee on Cyber-Safety, Sydney, Australia.

Shariff, S. (2011). Invited submission made to Nova Scotia Task Force on Cyberbullying, commissioned by Nova Scotia Government.

Grants and Fellowships (Funding Received)

2012-2017, Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, 5 Year Insight Grant. Shaheen Shariff, Principal Investigator. Co-Investigators, Jamshid Beheshti (Information Systems), Victoria Talwar (Educational Psychology),Shauna Van Praagh (Faculty of Law), Franco Carneval, School of Nursing (all from McGill University), Tanya Beran (School of Medicine (University of Calgary), Michael Manley Casimir (Brock University). Defining the lines on cyberbullying: Keeping kids out of court by comparing legal responses with motivation, moral development and legal literacy of digital natives.

2012-2013 Facebook’s Digital Citizenship Grant. Shaheen Shariff, Principal Investigator. Defining the Line on Cyberbullying: Keeping Kids Out of Court by Comparing Legal Responses with Motivation, Moral Development and Legal Literacy of Digital Natives. One of four applicants who received this award globally.

2012 - 2015. McGill Collaborative Research Grant, as Co-Applicant. Claudia Mitchell, Principal Investigator. Social Policy "from the ground up" through digital media: Youth, Participation and Social Change (Malawi).

2012 Canada-India Center of Excellence for u-Health Research and Education (CuRE), Education Axis, as Co-Applicant. Principal Investigator, Antonia Arnaert. Letter of Intent Accepted.

2009-2012, Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC), Standard Research Grant. Shaheen Shariff, Principal Investigator. Co-Investigators: Tanya Beran, University of Calgary; Dawn Zinga, Brock University; France Bouthillier, McGill University. Developing an interactive virtual forum to study children’s on-line interactions and stakeholder responsibilities to promote cyber-safety for Canada’s youngest technology users.

2009-2011, Quebec Ministry of Education. Shaheen Shariff, Principal Investigator.Engaging Educators with Quebec’s Kids Through Teacher Education and Professional Development on E-Q-Kids Website to reduce Cyber-violence. Awarded under the programme de soutien a la formation continue du personnel scolaire.

Expert Witness

Expert witness testimony for Plaintiff, contributing to successful leave for appeal to Supreme Court of Canada in A.B. v. Bragg Communications, Inc. resulting in landmark ruling on child protection and free press in cases involving cyberbullying.

Invited Keynote Presentations

International Keynotes

Shariff, S. (2012, July). Keynote Presentation. Defining the Lines on Cyberbullying through Engagement with Digital Natives: 34th International School of Psychology Association (ISPA) Conference, Montreal, Quebec.

Shariff, S. (2012, July). Keynote Presentation. Global Mapping of Cyberbullying. UNICEF Research Centre, Florence, Italy.

Shariff, S. (2012, June). Keynote Presentation. Defining the Line on International Cyberbullying Policy. International COST Conference on Cyberbullying and Policy Development. Sorbonne, Paris, France.

Shariff, S. (2012, March). Keynote presentation. Global Mapping of Cyberbullying. UNICEF Headquarters. New York, U.S.A.

National Keynotes

Shariff, S. (2012, September). Keynote presentation. Impact of Cyberbullying. The OACCPP 34th Conference on Mental Health. Creating Connections Building Bridges. Toronto, Ontario.

Shariff, S. (2012, February). Keynote presentation. Digital Citizenship and Policy on Girls and Cyberbullying. Canadian Women’s Foundation Conference. Toronto, Ontario.

Shariff, S. (March, 2012). Keynote presentation. Interdisciplinary Research Laboratory on the Rights of the Child/Laboratoire de recherche interdisciplinaire sur les droits de l'enfant at the University of Ottawa, Faculty of Law.

Invited International Policy Panels, Roundtables and Media Panels

Shariff, S. (2012, June) Roundtable Panelist. Towards Future Policies on Cyberbullying, International COST Conference on Cyberbullying and Policy Development, Sorbonne, Paris, France.

Shariff, S. (2012, May). BullyProof Online Interactive Expert Panel on CBC Website responding to questions from international audience.

Impact of Scholarship: Media Relations

Selected Media Appearances - Radio and Television Broadcasts

Shariff, S. (2012, October). Amanda Todd Case: CBC The National with Wendy Mesely. Role of Law to Reduce Cyberbullying.[Live Interview].

Shariff, S. (2012, October). CBC The National with Peter Mansbridge. [Taped Television Interview]. Reporter Ioanna Remeliotis. Aired on provincial broadcasts nationally.

Shariff S. (2012, October). Amanda Todd Case and Legal Issues. Global Television, Montreal, with Jamie Orchard. [Live Television Interview].

Shariff, S. (2012, October). Proposed National Strategy and Laws against Cyberbullying. Homerun. CBC Radio. [Live Radio Interview].

Shariff, S. (2012, October). Cyberbullying: The Supreme Court speaks, but are parents listening?. Pod-cast interview with James Mennie. The Gazette. [Phone Interview].

Shariff, S. (2012, September 4). Cyberbullying Live On-line Blog. Global News. Shariff, S. (2012, May 30). Cyberbullying: Issues and Concerns. Connect with Mark Kelly. CBC National Live Television Broadcast [Live Television Interview].

Shariff, S. (2012, January 27). SiriusXM’s Doctor Radio, Child Psychology and Parenting Show with Alexandra Barzvi, Ph.D. and Lori Evans, Ph.D. (affiliated with NYU Child Study Centre in New York).

Shariff, S. (2011, December 5). Radio Interview on Maritime Morning with Jordi Morgan on News 95.7, Halifax. [Radio Broadcast].

Shariff, S. (2011, November 10). Special Report on Cyberbullying. CTV News. Maya Johnson. [Television Broadcast]

Shariff, S. (2011, October, 27). The Scourge of Bullying. Al Jazeera. YouTube. [Television and Web broadcast]

Shariff, S. (2011, May 19). CBC Home Run. Launch of Definetheline.ca.

Shariff, S. (2011, April 7). Interview with Sue Smith on CBC Home Run. [Radio Broadcast]. Analysis of Quebec Teachers Federation CROP Poll on Increase in Cyber-bullying Against Teachers.

Shariff, S. (2011, April 4). Interview with Richard Brown on Cyber-bullying: What can be done? The afternoon news with Richard Brown. [Radio Broadcast]

Selected Print-media Interviews and Reports of Scholarship

Seideman, K. (September 27, 2012). McGill professor lauds Supreme Court for cyberbullying decision. The Montreal Gazette.

Montgomery, S. (August 4, 2012). Cyberspace feuds finding way into court: Criminal Activity: It's not only children who are bullies on the Internet. The Montreal Gazette, A3.

The Honourable Senator Mobina Jaffer (May, 2012). A new perspective on cyberbullying, Professor Shaheen Shariff. [Senator Jaffer,Chair, Standing Committee on Human Rights].

Canada.com (no author named). (April 30, 2012). Laws won’t stop cyberbullying, experts tell Senate committee.

The McGill Tribune, Page V. (2011, October 31, 2011). Cyber-bullying is a growing concern in Canadian Schools.

Pouliot, J. (2011, 16 August). “Le Devoir hacking prank under police investigation.” The Montreal Gazette.

Wilton, K. (2010, 5 October). “Online menace isn’t ‘just a joke’: police. ‘We have to help them Develop empathy, McGill professor says of cyber-bullies.”

Bagwell, K. (2010, September). Nationwide U.S. Education Media Interview, posted on LRP website Ed.Daily.com and for print publications Maintaining Safe Schools and The School Discipline Advisor.


McGill University, January 2003 to Present


Course # Title R=Required
# of Times
EDEM674 Organizational theory and education (2007-) C 1
EDEM609 Issues in educational studies (2005-) R 2
EDEM677 Cyber-bullying Special Topics (2008) E 1
EDEM646 Planning, monitoring & evaluation (2004) E 1
EDEM664 Education and the law (2003-) C 8
EDEM606 Educational leadership (2003-) R 6


EDEC360 Ethics and Religious Cultures (2010) R 1
EDEC248 Multicultural Issues in Education (2005 -) R 7
EDER464 Intercultural Issues in Education (2003-2005) R 6

Under Development, Graduate and Undergraduate

  • Education, Law and Technology
  • Educational Policy and Digital Media



McGill University Task Forces, Boards and Committees

  • Fall, 2011, Committee Member on Quartier Innovation Initiative in Griffintown, Montreal.
  • August, 2009 - 2011 - Chair of Committee 1B, Engaging with Diversity, on McGill Principal’s Task Force on Diversity.

McGill's Faculty of Education

  • October 2010 - Ongoing:
    Founding Member of Executive Committee on Institute of Human Development and Wellbeing, launched December 16, 2011, Social Policy Stream.

Department of Integrated Studies in Education (DISE)

  • February, 2012 - Chair, DISE Research Committee
  • October, 2012 - Department Tenure and Promotion Committee

Editorial Boards: Refereed Journals

  • Editorial Board Member, Journal of Mass Communication, Delinquency and Criminology (ISSN:2305-6592) (Invited, 2012).

Reviewer: Refereed Journals

  • Computers and Education (3 articles – 2011-2012)
  • Educational Administration Quarterly (2 articles – 2011 – 2012)

Reviewer: Book Publishers

  • New Media and Society (2012 - 1 book manuscript)

Invited Reviewer: Granting Agencies International

  • October, 2012 - Reviewer for Portuguese Granting Agency, FCT, I.P. - Fundação para a Ci-ência e Tecnologia.Two grant applications on technology, policy and law.
  • September, 2012 – Reviewer for Austrian Granting Agency, Vienna, Austria. One grant ap-plication on rights and the Internet.

    Invited Reviewer: Granting Agencies Canadian

    • 2013 - SSHRC Insight Partnership Grants at the Letter of Intent stage.
    • 2011 Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC). Member of review committee for SSHRC 2011 Insight Research Development Grants competition, 75 Applications.
    • 2009 - Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) – Assessor (2 Standard Grant Applications).

    Reviewer: Conference Proposals

    • American Education Research Association (AERA): Law and Education SIG (6 proposals).
    • Canadian Society of Studies in Education (CSSE): Citizenship Education SIG (6 proposals).

    Task Forces and Membership on Committees at Other Universities

    • 2012 – Roundtable Task Force on Implications of Bill 56 (Law 19) and Misinformation by Consultants – Tolerance Foundation (Anne Lagace Dowson), Ministry of Education, Member of Parliament, Dany Morin; Various consultants and community groups (by invitation).