Do You Know Where Your Kids Are?

Pipestone Flyer

First and foremost know all your child's passwords and make it mandatory

    

During the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s, a popular statement ‘Do you know where your children are?’ was circulated throughout North America. The question stressed the importance of parents knowing where their children were and what they were doing. This statement has taken on a whole new meaning as children push their limits with use of the internet and have changed the way they communicate and interact with others. The change is explosive and the change is scary as the internet has few rules.  

     The invitation offered by the WRPS HUB program read: Worried about your child being bullied? Ease your fears with a free cyber-bullying presentation, which will focus on the importance of talking to your children about internet safety and establishing online boundaries. The vulnerability of youth online and laws relevant to internet crimes like cyber-bullying will also be discussed. All parents are welcome to attend! 

    Judging by the disappointing turnout at the cyber-bullying presentation at the C.B. McMurdo School Gym on Tuesday, February 26, 2013 6:30 pm – 7:30 pm there doesn’t appear to be many parents that are concerned about their children and cyber-bullying. There were only about 15 people present and many of those were the organizers. 

Startling survey results

    Amanda Nixon, SAFFRON Centre Ltd., Sherwood Park was present to create awareness and understanding of the day-to-day issues and  dangers facing youth as a result of cyber-bullying. She shared some startling statistics.  A local survey was conducted with 16 to 18 year old teens who were reported to spend an average of 5 hours a day online with an average of 282 text messages per day. The average number of Friends on Facebook is 271 with numbers ranging between 45 and 950.

    “We need to ask ourselves how did we (as a society) get to this point in time where the interaction of youth and the web has literally gone wild? Through working with youth, SAFFRON has gained an excellent awareness of the many issues that face young people today when engaging online with their computer, webcam, cellphone and other interactive media. Many issues change daily as viral notoriety is instantaneous for anyone, anytime, and anywhere.”

    Amanda is a member of SAFFRON's Web Gone Wild project that provides workshops and presentations to anyone who works with children and youth including: all front line workers in both government and not for profits, foster parents, youth organizations as well as all school administration and law enforcement agencies. 

    She challenged the audience with the question, “Have you ever really looked at YouTube with your children and do you know what is on there for them to see?” She then provided examples. 

“Actual footage of sexual assaults happening. Actual footage of fights and beatings. Information about self mutilation and many, many more things that you don’t even want to know about.”

    Amanda was very clear about the dangers associated with social media.  She gave real examples of  how people lie about who they are and what they are doing and can entice youth to meet with them. They can steal a person’s identity and post false information on line. And if too much information is posted on sites such as Facebook, the stalker, with a few steps, can track a person to their home location complete with a map and photograph of the home.  

    “SAFFRON has recognized a need for extensive education and awareness for Internet and technology issues that are facing children and youth today. New fads and 'flavor of the month' activities catch on like wildfire with lightning speed. New posts, pictures, and videos go viral, worldwide, and overnight. With one click it's out there forever, and the new day brings challenges and often very serious consequences of 'pressing send' that have now become a reality.”

    Youth tend to be too relaxed about their boundaries on the internet and unintentionally put themselves at risk. They are talking to people they don’t know on the internet, sharing personal information and pictures and videos online and giving too much information to people they ‘kinda’ know.

Parents need to be in-the-know and work with their child before it’s too late 

    There are warning signs parents should recognize and talk to their children about. Is someone asking your child if they have their own computer ,ipod or phone that they can send pictures for videos? Are they offering your child bribes, gifts or jobs. Are they giving your child a lot of compliments?  Do they claim to be in an emergency situation and need help immediately.  Do they try to threaten or intimidate? Do they gradually introduce sexual content? Are they asking your child to send private information, pictures and videos. 

    Amanda ended her presentation stressing the (sometimes uncomfortable) importance of communicating with youth. 30% of youth say their parents monitor their activities while 80% of parents say they monitor their children.  She offered some suggestions.  Do not allow cell phones or computers in the bedroom. Have a conversation with your child about your expectations and boundaries before you give them any form of technology. Monitor usage and if something doesn’t seem right, ask. Cover or disable webcams. Charge cell phones in the kitchen overnight. Model safe behaviour for your kids and make sure the technology and games are age appropriate. 

    There were printed handouts available for parents with advice about how to track and keep involved in their child’s life and social media network. The disclaimer at the end of the sheet read, “At the end of the day, however, kids will catch on and are smart enough to get around safeguards. We, as parents, have to be willing to be there and to be involved if we are to keep them safe and on the right path”.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

"We are looking seriously at the spread and determining what our next steps should be," says Alberta’s chief medical officer of health, Dr. Deena Hinshaw, as the daily number of COVID-19 cases continues to climb.
427 new COVID cases is highest in Alberta ever

Central zone has 126 active cases of COVID-19

COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)
Temporary COVID-19 testing sites coming to Wetaskiwin and Ponoka

The Wetaskiwin location will open Oct. 23, 2020 and the Ponoka location will open Oct. 29.

COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)
City and County of Wetaskiwin reporting active cases

Both the City of Wetaskiwin and County of Wetaskiwin have active cases.

Alberta chief medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw updates media on the Covid-19 situation in Edmonton on Friday March 20, 2020. nbsp;Alberta is reporting it's highest daily number of COVID-19 cases, with 364 new infections. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Alberta confirmed 323 COVID-19 cases Tuesday

Central zone active cases at 145

COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)
Maskwacis reporting 37 active cases

Numbers current as of Oct. 19

Manny’s Motel demolition. Shaela Dansereau/ The Pipestone Flyer.
Manny’s demolition under way this week.

Manny’s has been vacant since the January fire that took place at the property.

JJ Collett Natural Area Foundation held its AGM on Oct. 19 at the Ponoka Legion. (Emily Jaycox/Ponoka News)
De-listing Alberta parks creates ‘risk’ for coal mining: CPAWS

Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society speaks at JJ Collett AGM

(File photo)
Ponoka’s seen rise in relationship ‘disharmony,’ domestic violence during COVID-19

While there has been an increase in files, not all have required charges to be laid

ACC President and CEO Ken Kobly spoke to Ponoka Chamber of Commerce members over Zoom on Oct. 20. (Image: screenshot)
Alberta chambers are ‘411’ to members, government: ACC president

Changes to government supports, second wave and snap election

Smartphone showing various applications to social media services and Google. (Pixabay photo)
National media calling for level playing field with Google, Facebook

In Canada, Google and Facebook control 80 per cent of all online advertising revenues

RCMP. (Black Press File Photo)
Calgary man dies in two-vehicle collision near Sylvan Lake

A semi truck collided with a SUV just east of Hwy. 781 on Hwy 11.

RCMP. (Phil McLachlan - Black Press Media)
British Columbia man dies during ski trip near glacier west of Calgary

Kananaskis Public Safety and Alpine Helicopters responded around 2:30 p.m.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau arrives on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Monday, Oct. 19, 2020, following a week-long break for the House of Commons. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
One crisis after another for Trudeau since last federal election one year ago

It has been a year of unprecedented calamity and crisis

Most Read