THUNDER BAY – Crime – Cyber security and your family. International Safer Internet Day is today. The OPP state, “Children and youth are increasingly living out a large proportion of their daily lives online — whether using technology to communicate with friends, seek entertainment, or learn and broaden their knowledge about the world around them”.
Cyber Security Strategy and your Family
Setting in place solid cyber security strategy – especially with your children is as important at street-proofing them. Parents, teachers, law enforcement, and political leaders all need to be fully aware of the risks children and youth may encounter while using the Internet.
February 5, International Safer Internet Day, Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) are letting Ontarians know about the comprehensive Internet safety resources and tools available through the Canadian Centre for Child Protection. These tools are there to help people make sense of the challenges with raising children and youth in an ever-changing technological world.
Youth are Early Adopters of Technology
One of the reasons a cyber security strategy is important is that young people are early adopters of new technology. Often youth can be generations ahead of their parents. Teenagers are often the experts who set up the family computer and Internet, including the wireless router in the household.
“In this ever-changing technological world, children and youth are able to connect to the Internet with relative ease, exposing them to risks and harms that can be difficult to keep up with,” says Inspector Scott Naylor, Manager, OPP Child Sexual Exploitation Unit. “The protection of children online is all of our responsibility. The Canadian Centre for Child Protection resources provide parents, educators and communities with current information about children’s online activities and what we can do to make the Internet a safer place for our children and youth.”
[sws_pullquote_left]Knowing about your child and teenager’s online activity is important [/sws_pullquote_left]
Setting a computer systems strategy in your home computer network can help protect your family too. Making sure that your network is password protected, or the wireless network is hidden from public view can be important first steps.
Computer Systems Security
In Thunder Bay, Tbaytel offers a security package for high-speed Internet customers. As a Tbaytel High Speed customer you are entitled to 3 FREE copies of Trend Micro™ Titanium™ Internet Security 2013.
Shaw Customers have access to security too. Shaw Secure powered by McAfee is a complimentary service for Shaw Internet customers that protects your computer against spyware, malware and viruses.
Another step can be putting the family home computer in a very visible place in the home. Further, it is important for parents to take an active role in learning about the Internet with their teens. If your teenagers were hanging around the pool hall, or corner store, a parent of old would want to know. Today, teens are often ‘hanging around’ online. Taking the interest is important.
The Canadian Centre for Child Protection, a national charitable organization dedicated to the personal safety of all children, will be launching new e-parenting safety sheets addressing issues and concerns parents may be facing right now with regard to their adolescent’s online safety. This includes valuable information on protecting youth from online luring, the growing issue of sexting, as well as how to talk to your child about healthy relationships and appropriate boundaries.
Sexting and sharing of images online has been a concern in Thunder Bay. Thunder Bay Police recently investigated instances where youth at a local high school were sharing images with each other via smart phones, and email. Sources tell NetNewsledger that one of the instances happened when a teen girl set her phone down and another teen picked it up and then transmitted inappropriate images off the phone to other youth.
That move led to a police investigation and concerns in Thunder Bay over Internet activity with youth.
Parents, teachers and school officials can have the opportunity to engage with youth and create dialogue toward greater cyber security practices.
“We all have an important role to play in the online protection of children,” says Lianna McDonald, Executive Director, Canadian Centre for Child Protection. “We know that for parents and teachers it can be hard to even know where to begin — and this is why, in partnership with the OPP, we want to make sure that Canadians are aware of the important educational resources we have to offer to better protect children.”
Recognizing that educators also play a critical role when it comes to teaching children important personal safety strategies that will help reduce online victimization, the Canadian Centre will also be distributing over a million Internet safety materials to schools across Canada free-of-charge. The OPP also encourages parents and teachers alike to visit The Door That’s Not Locked website (www.thedoorthatsnotlocked.ca), a comprehensive resource with age-specific Internet safety information.
This includes material about the online activities that are popular with children of different age groups, the potential risks children face when using certain technologies and safety strategies to address those concerns.
About the Canadian Centre for Child Protection
The goal of the Canadian Centre for Child Protection (www.protectchildren.ca) is to reduce child victimization by providing programs and services to the Canadian public. Its four national programs include Cybertip.ca (www.cybertip.ca), Canada’s tipline to report the online sexual exploitation of children; MissingKids.ca (www.missingkids.ca), a national missing children resource and response centre; Kids in the Know (www.kidsintheknow.ca), an interactive child personal safety program for children in Kindergarten to Grade 9; and Commit to Kids (www.commit2kids.ca), a program to help child-serving organizations create safer environments for the children in their care and reduce their risk of sexual abuse.