(NC) -- Young Canadians today are growing up in the digital landscape. Their childhood is totally engaged in computers, digital video, cell phones, online games, and the Internet. Digital communication is at the centre of their social world and many children have email addresses and personal online profiles before they get to middle school. Mobile phones are a tool to text, snap photos and share it all with friends.
Growing up online can deliver valuable experiences. There are many educational advantages to the Internet – although it can also be menacing. This highly interconnected world comes hand in hand with constantly changing threats and one of them is that records are kept permanently. What your children say, post, and share online now can resurface and surprise them in their adult years.
We tell our children to look both ways when crossing the street, and teach them to not talk to strangers, but it's also important to teach them to stay safe online. As a parent, you might feel that you don't know the latest online risks or that you aren't aware of what kids are doing online. Rest assured that there are some trusted places you can go to for information and to start with, here are some tips to make sure your children grow up informed and protected:
Talk to your children about what they are doing online and teach them how to deal with inappropriate material that they may come across.
Talk to them about the consequences of posting inappropriate pictures and saying negative things about other people — actions that could damage a reputation or ruin a friendship.
Remind them that the Internet is a public space and it keeps a record. Things children do and say now could have implications down the road.
Teach your children to keep strangers away and offer guidance to your child on how to be safe online. Set the example and show your kids how to be cyber safe.
Protect while you connect. More information is available online at GetCyberSafe.ca.