Keeping your child safe online

Our kids are growing up in a digital world. It seems almost everything they do involves the Internet and smart phones. Gone are the days of gab-sessions over the phone – many kids today prefer texting over talking. Plans are often made over social networking sites like Facebook. Pictures are electronic and easily uploaded and shared via social networking sites like Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.

The Internet can be a great tool – but it can also expose children and youth to a number of dangers, including cyberbullying, cyber-stalking, online predators, viruses, spyware and phishing, and much more.

It’s important that parents have an active role in keeping their children safe online. Here are a few suggestions:

  • There are tools available through your Internet Service Provider to help you manage your children's online experience (i.e. appropriate websites, amount of time spent online, who can and cannot contact them, etc.). It might also include other security features, such as pop-up ad blockers.
  • Get to know the online environments your children use and teach them how to deal with inappropriate material.
  • Talk to them about the risks of posting inappropriate pictures, saying bad things about other people and anything else that could damage a reputation or ruin a friendship.
  • Remind them that the Internet is a public space. Things they do and say on social networking sites could have negative consequences down the road when they're looking for summer employment (employers often search personal profiles for information about candidates).
  • Make sure your children know to be careful what they say online about vacations or trips away from home. They may not realize it, but they could be letting someone know the house is going to be empty – leaving your whole family vulnerable to a break-in.
  • Stay in the know about the latest ways children are communicating and what they're up to when they're at friend's houses.
  • Keep an eye on the sites they're visiting by keeping the computer in a common area like the kitchen.
  • Talk to other parents about their children's online privileges and what works for them.
  • Educate them about the risks of webcam use with people you or your children don't know. Video that's broadcast over the Internet is permanently out there and can be saved by anyone for later viewing or distribution. Tip: Cover up your webcam, or unplug it, if you aren’t using it. If your computer is hacked, someone you don’t know could remotely use your webcam without you even knowing – don’t give them that ability.
  • If your child is using live text and voice chats for online games, warn them not to give personal information to a stranger.
  • Be careful about what you post about your children or activities related to them like the location of their school, or where you or they are volunteering.

Content adapted from www.getcybersafe.gc.ca/cnt/prtct-yrslf/prtctn-fml/chld-sf-eng.aspx

Children, teens and social networking

Social networking is a fun way for kids to interact and share information with their friends, family and peers. Online social networks like Facebook and Twitter can also connect people all over the globe – which can expose users to an unknown world. There are a number of ways to be sure your kids are social networking the safe way:

  • Look into the social network your child might want to join, and see if it’s a well-known service. Also make sure it’s age-appropriate.
  • Once you’ve decided on the right social network, read and understand the Terms of Use (or Terms of Service) and the Privacy Policy. Tip: Avoid the site if it shares information with third parties.
  • Help your child set-up a profile, and ask him/her to leave out personal information like their birthday, full name, social insurance number, address, phone number, etc.
  • Help your child protect their account by creating a strong password, and setting the security settings to the highest and most restrictive settings there are. Tip: Check the privacy settings periodically, as updates to the site may include default settings that allow access to your child’s profile.
  • Try to be aware of what your child does online. Offer guidance to your child on how to be safe online.
  • Be sure your child knows to be respectful toward friends and not say or post anything that would be hurtful or harmful - including photos.
  • Monitor your child's page for personal information posted by friends - and to see whether strangers could benefit from any of the information shown on the profile.

Content adapted from www.getcybersafe.gc.ca/cnt/prtct-yrslf/prtctn-fml/scl-ntwrk-eng.aspx

Children, teens and mobile use

Today’s kids rely on their mobile phone to communicate. They text, surf the web, upload pictures and videos to social networking sites, play games, etc. using this one device. So what can you do to make sure they’re being smart about the information they’re sharing? Here are some tips:

  • Set a strong password on the phone, and activate any other security features before they use it.
  • Remind your child to think before they text. Text messages can be easily misinterpreted and forwarded to others.
  • Phone numbers should only be given out to people they know – and they shouldn’t share anyone else’s number without permission.
  • Tell your child to ignore messages from people they don’t recognize.
  • Educate your child on the risks of meeting face-to-face with someone they met through text messaging. Ask them to tell you if they are going to do this, and where they plan to meet.
  • Make sure they get permission before taking pictures or videos of someone with their phone – and vice versa.
  • Turn off the geotagging feature on their phone, so photos or posts don’t reveal their location.

For more tips and tricks on keeping your children’s phone secure, check out some of these great resources:

Content adapted from www.getcybersafe.gc.ca/cnt/prtct-yrslf/prtctn-fml/chld-mbl-eng.aspx

If you are having thoughts of suicide or of hurting yourself or others, please reach out immediately for help. Call 9-1-1 (or your local police or authority, if you do not have 9-1-1) or go to your nearest hospital emergency room.

If you are being bullied, feeling alone or just need to talk to someone who will listen, please reach out to a trained volunteer or professional:



Resources for Parents

Read More

Resources for Youth

Read More
Close

Thank you for stopping by to check out the ERASE Bullying online reporting tool. This tool is accessible through computers and smart phones, and will allow students, parents or other witnesses to report bullying or other threatening behaviour, anytime and anywhere.

The online reporting tool has just been developed and is in the final stages of testing.

If you need help, please reach out to someone you trust, like a parent, friend or teacher. Or, you can reach out to someone who doesn’t know you for support. There is a list of youth-oriented support lines and websites on this site just for you.

Close