VICTORIA - Should you cover up or unplug your webcam if you aren't using it? If your computer is hacked, someone you don't know could spy on you and your family.
That's just one of the tips being highlighted during Safer Internet Day. Organized through the Canadian Centre for Child Protection, today is a day to create awareness, promote the safe use of the Internet and mobile devices, educate children about the risks and help parents take an active role to keep their children safe.
Minister of Education, Don McRae -
"Today's parents are dealing with safety issues that didn't even exist when they were kids. It can feel overwhelming at times, but learning what you can do to keep your kids safe online is empowering. Safer Internet Day is a great reminder to parents to take a bit of time to understand the risks children are faced with on the Internet and the key actions they can take to prevent them."
Last June, Premier Christy Clark launched ERASE Bullying (Expect Respect And a Safe Education), a 10-point strategy to end bullying. As part of the strategy, http://erasebullying.ca/ was launched to provide resources and information to parents and youth. The following tips are compiled from content freshly added to erasebullying.ca for Safer Internet Day.
Tips to keep your child safe online:
- Educate your children about the risks of webcam use. Video broadcast over the Internet is permanently out there and can be saved and distributed by anyone. If your computer is hacked, someone you do not know could remotely use your webcam to spy on you in your own house without you even knowing. If you're not using your webcam, unplug it or cover it up.
- Make sure your children are careful about discussing vacations or trips away from home online. They could be letting the wrong people know when your house will be empty - leaving your whole family vulnerable to a break-in.
- Be careful about what you post about your children or activities related to them like the location of their school, or where you or they are volunteering.
- Turn off the GPS geotagging feature on their phones, so photos or posts do not reveal their location.
- Learn about the tools available through your Internet service provider (ISP) that can help you manage your children's online experience (i.e., appropriate websites, amount of time spent online, who can and cannot contact them).
- Help your child set-up their online profiles, and ask him/her to leave out personal information like their birthday, full name, social insurance number, address, phone number, etc.
- Be aware of what your child does online. Keep an eye on the sites they're visiting by keeping the computer in a common area like the kitchen.
- Monitor your child's social media pages for personal information posted by friends - and to see whether strangers could benefit from any of the information shown on the profile.
Update on ERASE Bullying Strategy:
In June, 2012 Premier Christy Clark announced ERASE Bullying, a comprehensive 10-point strategy that will make B.C. a leader in addressing and preventing bullying. Since then:
- The five-year, multi-level training for 15,000 educators and community partners to proactively identify and address threats has reached the midway point. This month, over half of all districts will have completed the first wave of training.
- By the end of the 2012-13 school year, all school districts will have received training in fostering safe and caring school communities and violence threat risk assessment.
- Safe School Co-ordinators are now in place in all 60 school districts.
- School boards must ensure one professional development day (Pro-D day) is focused on preventing bullying and cultivating safe and caring school communities.
- On Nov. 13, 2012, the B.C. hosted the ERASE Bullying Summit with participants including a broad range of people, from students, parents and educators, to police, community representatives and experts on bullying and student safety.
- The ERASE Bullying reporting tool for kids to anonymously report bullying was launched at the Summit. Both English and French versions are now available.
- ERASEBullying.ca, a new website with tips and resources for parents and youth, is also up and running.
- Take U out of Bullying, an online forum for students to discuss bullying, is in development.
- The Provincial Advisory Committee on Bullying and Violence Prevention (PACBVP) - with representatives from police, school and social agency partners - will be developing provincial threat assessment and formal information-sharing protocols.
ERASE Bullying tips and resources for parents and youth: http://www.erasebullying.ca/
ERASE Bullying Student Online Reporting Tool: https://reportbullyingbc.edudata.ca/apps/bullying/
Safer Internet Day: http://www.saferinternetday.org/web/canada/home
Government Communications and Public Engagement
Ministry of Education