My daughter's Brownie troupe completed their computer badge and she came home with this poem that I thought was a great way to start a family discussion and teach them some important cyber safety rules.
|To download a printable copy, click here!|
While my kids are not yet at the point of using social media, they both have email addresses that they use to keep in touch with their grandparents. It is only a matter of time though before they will be entering the world of Facebook, Twitter, etc. so I want them to be prepared.
It is important to me that they understand now that they should never share personal information about themselves online. Some of these include:
- email address
- phone number
- school name
Bullying is something that they discuss in detail at school. They participated in "pink" day, they worked on a school song about bullying and they were privileged to participate in a presentation by Second City that dealt with the topic of bullying in a fun and interactive way. That being said, I'm not sure how much they know about cyber-bullying. Do they know that cyber-bullying refers to the use of communication technologies – such as a computer, mobile phone or web camera – to deliberately intimidate, threaten or humiliate others?
Rogers Communications worked with non-profit organizations such as the Canadian Centre for Child Protection to launch a Tech Essentials program in January. It is a great resource for both parents and kids. They have great tips for talking to your kids about spotting and stopping cyber-bullying. Your kids should be aware that some forms of cyber-bullying are considered criminal acts under the Criminal Code of Canada.
Some of their tips include:
- Have an open dialogue with your children about what cyber-bullying is, and encourage them to inform you or a teacher, principal or guidance counsellor after the first instance.
- Watch out for signs that your child is being bullied, such as withdrawn or abnormal behaviour, a reluctance to go to school, or to use the computer.
- Children should not write back to address the bully.
- Keep a record of any evidence of your child being cyber-bullied.
- If the messages are from a fellow student, contact the school to see if they have a cyber-bullying policy in place, and to document the complaint.
- If the online threats are of a physical nature, contact your local police.
- Become well informed about your children’s online activities.
I encourage you to visit the Tech Essentials site to learn more about these tips and about Parental control software that can help you keep your family safe. It can be daunting in this day and age when our kids seem so much more knowledgeable than us about the computers, the web and technology in general but they are still kids and need our guidance.