Shaheen Shariff

Dr. Shaheen Shariff is an Associate Professor with the Department of Integrated Studies in Education at McGill, and Director of the Define the Line projects.

Dr. Shariff is an international expert on socio-legal and policy issues with respect to online social communication, with a focus on cyberbullying, privacy, defamation and criminal harassment. Her research and teaching are grounded in the study of law as it impacts educational policy, pedagogy and practice. She is on the Board of Directors for Kids’ Help Phone, and is conducting a global mapping on cyberbullying for UNICEF Innocenti Research Centre, Italy. She is widely published with top tier journals and book publishers. As her publications reflect, she is concerned about over-reaction, over-regulation and criminalization of youth online expression and is a strong advocate for improved education of educators and the legal community through empirical and legal research.

She supports engagement of digital natives (youth growing up immersed in digital media) in dialogue and awareness about the impact and legal risks of their online postings, and supports the power of social media to mobilize socially responsible digital citizenship. Her work identifies limits on student free expression in school and in cyber-space; such as the line between joking and cyber-threats; privacy rights, cyber-safety, cyber-libel; and school supervision.

Drawing on established constitutional, human rights and tort law principles and doctrines, criminal law and emerging legislation, she is developing guidelines for school administrators, teachers and parents regarding the extent of their legal responsibilities to address cyberbullying in various contexts.