Community forum to discuss online safety

Surrey

2016-10-20 14:16 PDT

Far too often, officers with the Surrey RCMP’s Youth Unit are seeing young people being victimized by what they post online. To help both youth and parents navigate the complex online world, the Surrey RCMP and Surrey School District are hosting a Community Safety Forum tonight.

Online technology is being used by an increasingly younger demographic and it is important that parents know how to keep their children technology-safe, says Surrey RCMP Youth Unit Sergeant Neil Kennedy. Parents and caregivers need to start having those conversations very early with their kids about the proper uses of technology and play an active role in online safety education.

With so many devices, apps, and software available it can be overwhelming to navigate for parents, however, it all comes down to ongoing communication. Make it the norm to discuss parameters of what is and isn’t appropriate online instead of simply being intrusive, says Sgt. Kennedy.

The Community Safety Forum will be held tonight at 6:30pm at Enver Creek Secondary with topics covering online safety, fentanyl, and how the Surrey RCMP is engaging with youth. 


Online Safety Tips from the Surrey RCMP:

There are apps out there that give off the impression of simply being a tool on a mobile device, like a calculator, but are really used to hide conversations and texts from watchful eyes. – Sgt. Kennedy, Youth Unit

Tip: Make it a habit to browse your child’s apps and devices on a regular basis. Ensure app purchases are made only through mom or dad and that you have a clear understanding of what they are used for. There are many apps that children can download for free so be sure to restrict downloading on the device. Visit cybertip.ca to see more Smartphone Safety Tips and sign-up for Cyber Tip alerts.


Victimization can happen very fast, sometimes without kids actually doing anything wrong. All it takes is one wrong click of a mouse or one friend request to potentially become a victim. – Sgt. Dixon, Special Victims Unit

Tip: Kids have never been so exposed to sexually graphic and harmful material as they are in today’s digital age. Set up filtering software and use child appropriate search engines (e.g. KidsRex). Have conversations about what to do if they encounter odd behaviour or requests online. Monitor your child’s internet use closely and discuss the qualities of health and unhealthy friendships. If you have concerns about someone who might be a victim of online sexual exploitation please report it to cybertip.ca. If you know about a child who is in immediate danger or risk, call 911 or your local police.


Many young children are exploring online gaming and parents should pay special attention to the chat room components of some these games. – Carly, Support Services

Tip: The multi-player capability of online games makes them appealing to children. While it’s easy to think your child is safe while playing a game, adult supervision and guidance is necessary. Don’t allow your child to communicate in unmonitored chat rooms associated to many online games. Seek games that offer the ability to block or restrict individuals who can play with your child. Assist with the creation of online profiles when they join a gaming or social networking site. Visit www.childrenstech.com or www.gamerdad.com for more info.


More information on internet safety is available in the "Protect Yourself" section of the Surrey RCMP website or on the Canadian Centre for Child Protection website. 

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