Online safety for children and youth
What are the risks of interacting online?
- cyberbullying and harassment
- physical harm: The Internet, including email, social media sites, chat areas, bulletin boards and messaging can be used to gain a person’s confidence, particularly that of a child, and then arrange a face-to-face meeting. This contact may result in physical, sexual and emotional harm.
- exposure to inappropriate material, such as materials that are sexual, hateful or violent in nature or encourage activities that are dangerous or illegal
- identity theft
Tips for parents and guardians to reduce online risks to children:
- learn about the online world and be aware of what your child is doing and/or looking at online
- ensure your child does not give out personal information online. Have them use a code name.
- know what websites and chat rooms your child visits and messages your child is sending and receiving
- move the computer out of the bedroom and into the family room or living room to allow better monitoring and access to the computer
- talk about online safety with your child
- ask your child about people they may have met through social media tools such as Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook and Twitter
- monitor the amount of time your child spends online
- find out about filtering software that is available to block out certain sites and material. If you are concerned about your child visiting a certain site or chat room, a block can be placed to prevent your child from logging on to that site. However, don't feel completely safe with a block. New websites pop up every day and many pornographic or hate-filled sites have simple names that don't give away their content, and some websites are even named to attract children and young adults.
General tips for reducing online risks
- use a code name and keep personal information, such as your address, telephone number, place of work, or the name or location of your school, private
- always talk to your parents before ever agreeing to meet someone you met online, they may not be who they say they are
- if a message or chat room becomes uncomfortable, do not respond and log out of that site
- report harassment or inappropriate messages to your online server, who have their own set of ethical standards and welcome information from users