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Online Safety

Online Safety header - girl viewing online content

The online world is full of wonder. Each day at home, school, or work, most of us connect to the internet in some way. The internet opens doors to creating, learning, and sharing. With new online products and tools being made at a lightning-fast pace, it’s hard to keep up with some of the concerns and questions we may face about safe use of technology.

Would you toss a set of keys to your 16 year old without first teaching him how to safely and responsibly drive a car? Likely not. Much the same, in the online world there is a lot to know and learn. Children need to learn how to use online tools and to know what choices they may need to make. Parents need to teach and guide their children about online safety skills.

Q - I’m a parent. When should I start setting guidelines for my child?

A - If your child has viewed images on a screen then it is important to learn how this content can affect your child. Soon your child will use the internet to make contact and to share with others in the online world. Remember the 3C’s when setting guidelines with your child.


It is important to supervise, guide, and teach your child while he/she is learning about the online world. Consider the 3 C's:

boy looking at phone

Content

It is important for parents to:

  • supervise and to be aware of their child’s online activity
  • know about the chance of exposure to graphic and/or sexual content
  • learn about and set-up parental controls and filters
  • know that “screen-time” (time spent on tv, computers, cell phones, video games and movies) replaces time that a child can interact and play with their parent and environment. Too much screen-time can also cause sleep problems.

Boy talking on phone under bed looking at laptop

Contact

It is important for parents to teach their child about:

  • healthy relationships
  • dangers such as sexual abuse and exploitation
  • how to identify a “safe adult”
  • how to identify and report inappropriate behaviour, such as cyberbullying

girls chatting and laughing while on cell phone

Conduct

It is important for parents:

  • to set guidelines and limits
  • to explain that the online world is a public space and NOT a private space
  • to teach about respect of others’ personal boundaries
  • to teach how to protect private information and identity
  • to recognize if their child is having stress caused by online events

Tips to Guide Your Child Online

  • Limit the amount of time your child spends online
  • Pay attention to what your child is involved in (games, chatting, etc.,) and take the time to talk about online safety
  • Learn about tools and products. For instance, many blogging sites have a feature to report misuse and harmful comments or content. Some sites are monitored for wrongful use of the site. “Safe Chat” is a tool that filters comments.
  • Use parent controls. For instance “Safe Search” is a mode on a search engine that filters content. Your computer panel and/or browser likely have a feature to time-out once a time limit has been reached.

mother and daughter on a tablet together

Age Groups; activities and resources

Resources

little boy on laptop