It’s been a month since Amanda Todd’s tragic suicide. In response, the B.C. and the federal governments have unveiled a new anti-bullying strategy at an anti-bullying conference that took place in Vancouver. ERASE Bullying is an anonymous reporting tool for those who are being bullied or have witnessed bullying. The goal is to create safe school and learning environments for our kids.
Children who have access to mobile phones, tablets, and computers are getting younger. Even though most social media sites require you to be over 13, a large percentage of under age kids have accounts. Trouble comes when they don’t know how to set their privacy settings correctly and can fall victim to online predators and scams. Teach your kids not to reply to requests for inappropriate pictures. Sharing private images online is the number one cause of cyber bullying as they can be easily shared.
To help your kids know how to navigate online, Screen Smart offers these online safety tips and topics to discuss:
- Don’t post personal information.
- Know your friend list – don’t accept requests from people you haven’t met.
- Be cautious when posting pictures or videos.
- Don’t share passwords (but parents, it’s a good idea to know your child’s passwords).
- Report suspicious activities if you think someone is being threatened or harassed.
Online safety should begin at home and parents and caregivers need to be aware of the dangers of cyber bullying and child exploitation. Ninety-four percent of Canadian kids in grade four to eleven say they spend time online, but only 13% are supervised by an adult. Seventy percent of teens have been victims of cyber bullying, but only 10% have told an adult. Cybertips also offers a variety of helpful guides for children under 12.
It’s important to keep all computers and mobile devices out of bedrooms. Don’t assume your posts are private. Walk your children through proper online use and behaviour and always be a good example.
For More Information:
- Anti-bullying conference in Vancouver today, a month after Amanda Todd’s suicide, The Vancouver Sun
- ERASE Bullying
- Internet Safety, Screen Smart
- Internet Safety Information for Children, Cybertips
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