Work­ing to­gether to keep kids safe on­line

Asian Journal - - FRONT PAGE -

Vic­to­ria: As Cy­ber Se­cu­rity Aware­ness Month comes to an end, the Prov­ince en­cour­ages fam­i­lies, teach­ers and loved ones to con­tinue to check in with young peo­ple about stay­ing safe on­line.

Mod­ern tech­nol­ogy means kids have ac­cess to end­less in­for­ma­tion and en­ter­tain­ment. They can con­nect with peo­ple around the globe. This abun­dant ac­cess puts them at risk of cy­ber­bul­ly­ing, ex­po­sure to in­ap­pro­pri­ate ma­te­rial, iden­tity theft, on­line preda­tors and re­veal­ing too much per­sonal in­for­ma­tion. On­line in­for­ma­tion may seem tem­po­rary, but it’s of­ten per­ma­nent.

“Most of us did not have the kind of tech­nol­ogy grow­ing up that our kids have to­day. Tech­nol­ogy is cen­tral to their way of life - they play, learn and so­cial­ize on­line,” said Min­is­ter of Cit­i­zens’ Ser­vices Jinny Sims, whose min­istry over­sees gov­ern­ment in­for­ma­tion man­age­ment and tech­nol­ogy. “Cy­ber Se­cu­rity Aware­ness Month is an op­por­tu­nity to talk with young peo­ple about how they use the in­ter­net and what they’re do­ing on­line in an ef­fort to keep them safe.”

Adults are en­cour­aged to speak with chil­dren and teens about how to pro­tect their pri­vacy on­line, such as not shar­ing their lo­ca­tion or pass­words and strength­en­ing their pri­vacy set­tings. Good on­line prac­tices in­clude know­ing fol­low­ers per­son­ally, trust­ing in­stincts, be­ing dis­creet and un­der­stand­ing new fea­tures or apps be­fore try­ing them.

Ac­cord­ing to the Gov­ern­ment of Canada, 35% of Cana­dian teens say they have seen mean or in­ap­pro­pri­ate com­ments about some­one they know on so­cial net­works, and 33% of teens are Face­book friends with peo­ple they have not met in per­son.

“We have given our chil­dren some of the most pow­er­ful de­vices in his­tory with lit­tle to no in­struc­tions or guid­ance on how to use them, and it’s no won­der they are get­ting into trou­ble­some sit­u­a­tions,” said Sam Jing­fors, vice-pres­i­dent of Safer Schools To­gether. “We need to in­volve our­selves in their dig­i­tal and so­cial me­dia lives, model healthy be­hav­iour and re­in­force im­por­tant fam­ily and com­mu­nity values of em­pa­thy, per­spec­tive tak­ing, prac­tis­ing kind­ness and self-reg­u­la­tion. Uti­liz­ing age-ap­pro­pri­ate tech­nol­ogy in mod­er­a­tion, as op­posed to strict pro­hi­bi­tion, will best prepare a con­nected gen­er­a­tion with the skills and re­silience they need to ex­cel go­ing forward.”

Quick Facts:

• Ac­cord­ing to the Gov­ern­ment of Canada: • 60% of teens say they would share their pass­words with friends. • 36% of teens have full or par­tial pub­lic pro­files on their so­cial net­works.

• 94% of Cana­di­ans use a lap­top or desk­top com­puter to ac­cess the in­ter­net, 74% use a smartphone and 58% use a tablet.

Jinny Sims

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