Youngest Technology User Group is also Most Vulnerable
ORILLIA – Preparing younger generations for the digital world is a never-ending challenge and an opportunity embraced by the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) to enhance education, awareness and safety in cyberspace.
Threats to children in the virtual world include online entertainment, games and contests, predators posing as young people through social networking sites, applications along with downloading and file sharing. Criminal behaviours are also complicating the security and enjoyment of electronic devices and online hangouts, including cyberbullying and ‘sexting’. Cyberbullying happens when computers, cellphones or other devices are used to embarrass, humiliate, torment, threaten or harass someone else. Officially known as self-peer exploitation, “sexting” involves creating, sending or sharing sexual images and/or videos with peers via the Internet, social media sites and/or electronic devices. The OPP encourages everyone to apply the “THINK test” before launching a message, photo or video file into cyberspace. Ask yourself if it is:
If it doesn’t pass the “THINK test”, you may be unwittingly igniting negative interactions for many or even breaking the law.
During Cyber Safety Awareness Month in October, the OPP joins police services and subject matter experts from across the country to promote public awareness and help prevent victimization via online and wireless crimes.
“Cyber Security Awareness Month showcases OPP members’ hard work every day to ensure the safety of communities and the young people who live in their actual neighbourhoods and their virtual worlds. But we need help from families, our community partners and stakeholders year-round to effectively ward off the potential harmful impacts of the many cyber threats in today’s environment.”
-Deputy Commissioner Rick BARNUM, OPP Investigations and Organized Crime
“Parents and guardians are encouraged to talk to their children. Teach them about the potential risks they may encounter when using the Internet, social media, email and their mobile devices. Make them aware that they can trust you and that they shouldn’t deal with any threats to their safety alone.”
-Inspector Robyn MacEACHERN, OPP Community Safety Services
Keeping your child safe online (Courtesy of Public Safety Canada)
Other child safety and cyber security links for parents (Courtesy of Public Safety Canada)