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Internet and Social Media

While the Internet can be an incredible social and educational tool, your online safety depends on taking a proactive approach and protecting yourself, and your children, from bullying and cyber bullyingcyber stalking and online exploitation. Some useful resources include:

  • NeedHelpNow lets you know how to take down pictures and videos that you’ve posted online
  • is Canada’s tip line to report online sexual exploitation of children
  • is the Canadian Centre for Child Protection

For parents

Let your child know they can talk to you about anything and that you will always support them, no matter what. Building trust is important and lets your child know that they can come to you without fear of judgment.

Social media and online technology are a regular part of your child’s life. Threatening to take away their Internet access or smart phone can have harmful effects; your child will be less willing to come and talk to you if something negative is happening to them online.

Social media sites

Social media sites let you share photos, videos and more with friends and family. You need to careful as strangers can sometimes see the information you share. One photo can give away personal information, like where you currently are or where you live. You can remove location information on apps and programs from the posts you make. Social media sites often update their security settings without warning. Make sure to check your settings at least once a week to ensure your privacy.

Remember that once you post something online, you cannot control who has shared, screen shot or downloaded it. Removing it from a post does not mean someone has not already taken that information.

Chatting and making friends online

Chatting with people online and making new friends may seem harmless but it can be dangerous and lead to negative, dangerous and even criminal consequences.

Here are some do’s and don’ts that may help you stay safe online:

Friends List

Be careful whom you add to your friends list. If you wouldn’t share personal details with someone on the street, don’t share them online.

Meeting someone in person

If you’re going to meet someone in person who you only know online, meet them in a public place or take someone with you. Make sure that someone else knows where you are going. You can video chat with the person before you meet to see whom you’ve been chatting with and be able to recognize them. If you’re younger, always ask your parents first.

Suspicious Messages

Do not reply to any suspicious messages, emails or requests. Scammers, hackers and phishers will try to deceive you and steal your personal information. If the message came from a friend but still looks suspicious or strange, ask your friend about it before you open or reply to it.

Webcam safety tips

Webcams are a great way to stay in touch with friends and family. Make sure to never do or say anything that you would be ashamed about if someone else saw it as the video could be recorded, copied and shared. Hackers have taken control of webcams remotely. Consider covering your webcam with a sticky note or point it towards the wall when you’re not using it.

Photo sharing safety tips

Photo sharing is a great way to let your friends and family know what’s going on in your life. However, you should be very careful. Once you send or upload a photo, it is out of your control. A private photo that you intended for only one person can be saved, altered and/or sent to anyone. You have no guarantee that the photo will stay hidden or safe. Keep this in mind when posting photos of your friends as well and always get their permission before posting.

Photos often has information about your location, which someone could use to find out where you live, go to school, or work. Consider finding an app that removes this information from photos you want to share online.

Sexting dangers

Sexting refers to sending photos, videos or messages that are sexual in nature by text message or online. Sexting has the same risks as photo sharing and webcam use: once you have sent a photo, video or message of yourself, it is out of your control. There is no way to limit who the photos or videos are passed on to or who will see them. Once a photo is online, it is out there forever.

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