February 9th marks ‘International Safer Internet Day’. The Canadian Centre for Child Protection is encouraging parents of teenagers and youth to use safety resources to discuss online internet safety with their children.
The London Police service has officers that help educate students in schools about the dangers of online posting and that you don’t know who is on the other side of the computer.
“We see younger kids as early as grades two and three with their own Instagram account or their own Facebook account,” says London Police Constable Sandasha Bough. “They don’t know who they’re talking to. They don’t know who is on the other side of the computer. Anyone can use any picture they want, any name they want, and they can say they live anywhere they want.”
London Police have implemented changes to the way that they are teaching students about the dangers of talking to strangers when they surf the web.
Constable Bough says that the police service interact with the youth in a number of different ways, “We have a grade two program where we teach safety online at the YMCA Safety Village, in grade three the students learn about safety in regards to always asking parent’s permission before they go online and for the students in grade six, we have an entire system all about internet safety.”
Constable Bough also adds that in grade eight, the students learn about possible criminal charges that they could face if they engage in harassment or exploitation on the internet.
In a media statement, the Canadian Centre for Child Protection is encouraging the public to take four steps to create a safer internet:
- Talk to your teenager
- Stay informed about concerning technology
- Raise awareness on social media
- Report concerns about youth being exploited
Police say that the best way to stay for a youth to safe on the internet is to report any online assault to a trusted adult. You can find more information here.