Young Canadians today are growing up in a new digital landscape. Most of them don’t even know a world without computers, digital video, cell phones, online games, and the Internet. Online communication is at the centre of their social world. In many cases, they have email addresses and personal online profiles before they get to middle school. Many of them have mobile phones to keep connected with friends by snapping photos, texting, and sharing conversations.
Growing up online can be a wonderful thing. There are many educational advantages to the Internet – but it can also be a very scary thing. This highly interconnected world comes hand in hand with constantly changing threats, and it’s important to realize the permanent record that it keeps. What your children say, post, and share online now can resurface and surprise them in their adult years.
We tell our children to look both ways when crossing the street and teach them to not talk to strangers, but it’s also important to teach them to stay safe online. As a parent, you might feel like you don’t know the latest online risks or that you aren’t aware of what kids are doing online. Don’t worry; there are some trusted places you can go to for information to help you talk to your children about staying safe online.
Here are some tips to ensure your children grow up informed and protected (check out the infographic below):
- Talk to your children about what they are doing online and teach them how to deal with inappropriate material that they may come across.
- Talk to them about the consequences of posting inappropriate pictures and saying negative things about other people — actions that could damage a reputation or ruin a friendship.
- Remind them that the Internet is a public space and it keeps a record. Things children do and say now could have implications down the road.
Protect while you connect. More information is available online at GetCyberSafe.ca.
We also hosted a webinar focused on online safety for our children. You can view this webinar by clicking here.