Children and youth are spending more hours online in order to keep connected with friends and family. Children and youth potentially have more unrestricted and/ or unsupervised time online. Okotoks RCMP is urging families to have conversations with children and youth in your families about internet safety.
During this time your children may want to spend increased time connecting with friends by live streaming, video chatting or online gaming. Parents should be aware of the different “online apps” that their children are using and be aware of what content they are creating and posting online.
Parents should speak to their children about sending and receiving inappropriate photos and the legal consequences associated. This would include sending sexual photos/videos of anyone who is or appears to be under 18, saving them on their devices or distributing these photos/videos to others. Once a photo or video is sent it is nearly impossible to control who sees it or who shares it.
Online safety tips for parents:
- Have regular conversations about online safety. This includes talking about online games your children are playing, the apps that they are using and who they are chatting with online.
- Set the expectation that you will monitor your child’s online activities. Set guidelines around texting, social media, live streaming and gaming.
- Become familiar with, or revisit parental controls on computers, phones and tablets. For older children know their user names and passwords as well as email addresses used to sign up for games/apps or social accounts.
- Talk to your children about coming forward if they come across something or someone while chatting/messaging or texting that makes them feel uncomfortable.
- Talk to your children about not posting or providing personal information to anyone online such as date of birth, address, phone number or school.