Stay safe while on­line

Peter­bor­ough na­tive model Theresa Longo’s Project Play­book of­fers youth safety mes­sage

The Peterborough Examiner - - NEWS - JES­SICA NYZNIK EX­AM­INER STAFF WRITER

Theresa Longo has launched a pro­gram to help youth safely nav­i­gate the In­ter­net while main­tain­ing a pos­i­tive pres­ence.

The Peter­bor­ough na­tive teamed up with Matt Richard­son, a CBS -TV in­ter­net safety ex­pert, to cre­ate Project Play­book.

It pro­vides youth with the tools they need to man­age their on­line ac­tiv­ity in a safe and pos­i­tive way.

Longo, 30, and Richard­son kicked off the pro­gram Wed­nes­day with a pre­sen­ta­tion at Belleville’s Sag­noaska Demon­stra­tion School.

The duo plans to travel to cities across On­tario to speak to stu­dents, gear­ing con­tent ap­pro­pri­ately for dif­fer­ent age groups.

Youth will be in­tro­duced to con­cepts such as on­line lan­guage, for ex­am­ple. It’s about main­tain­ing a pos­i­tive on­line pres­ence while also be­ing aware of how oth­ers por­tray them­selves on­line.

Longo, a model, ac­tress and fit­ness ex­pert, got in­volved af­ter she ex­pe­ri­enced her own on­line scare.

She was nearly lured into an un­safe sit­u­a­tion.

“It just opened my eyes to the ac­tual dan­gers that are out there when you put your­self on the In­ter­net pub­li­cally,” said Longo, a Holy Cross Sec­ondary School grad­u­ate.

In Project Play­book, Longo shares her ex­pe­ri­ence and talks about pos­i­tive self-images on­line, while Richard­son of­fers tips on how to stay safe.

The goal of the pro­gram is to vest youth and show them how to pro­tect them­selves.

“We’re em­pow­er­ing kids to treat their on­line life as a very well-thought out and con­trolled en­deav­our,” she said.

The pro­gram is cur­rently a pre­sen­ta­tion, but is also be­ing de­vel­oped into a book­let.

The pair is cre­at­ing a book for par­ents, too, of­fer­ing ad­vice and tips on how to talk to their kids about on­line safety and ap­pro­pri­ate be­hav­iour.

Books should be ready in the new year. That’s also when Longo plans to bring the pro­gram to Peter­bor­ough.

She’d like to see the book in schools and health-care fa­cil­i­ties across On­tario to help pro­mote men­tal health well­ness.

NOTE: To book Project Play­book or for more in­for­ma­tion, email info@pro­ject­play­book.ca.

GE­ORGE DIMITROFF PHOTO

Theresa Longo

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