In recognition of International Safer Internet Day, nearly 3
million Internet safety brochures to address specific issues for children ages
8-9, 10-12 and 13-15, will be distributed throughout school systems by
provincial departments during the month of February. This effort will result
in children, parents and caregivers becoming better educated and more aware of
the risks that exist and the best ways to address them.
“We need to send a strong message to parents that they need to pay
attention to the very serious threats their children face online,” said
Rosalind Prober, Co-Founder of Beyond Borders Inc, a volunteer organization
which advances the rights of children to be free from abuse and exploitation
and Canadian affiliate of ECPAT International. “The distribution of this type
of information by the Canadian Centre for Child Protection plays an important
role in the education of our kids, both at home and in school,” said Prober.
“Through reports to Cybertip.ca from the public and our work with student
advisory groups, we have learned that children as young as 8 years old are
being exposed to sexually explicit material on the Internet,” said Lianna
McDonald, Executive Director of the Canadian Centre for Child Protection.
“Partnering with various provincial governments and private sector partners
allows us to reach millions of Canadian school age children and provide their
parents with tools to help them manage these risks.”
In addition to exposure to sexually explicit material, children are also
at risk of being targeted through more sophisticated online techniques. For
example, Cybertip.ca has received hundreds of reports relating to children
10-12 years old engaging in multi-player gaming. Adults use avatars to
communicate with the children and establish relationships in these comfortable
environments. This makes children more likely to provide information that
increases their risk of being harmed.
The brochures that are being distributed as part of Safer Internet Day
help parents to understand the specific risks for their child’s age and
provide relevant suggestions for keeping their child safe from victimization.
For more information, visit www.protectchildren.ca.