Safer Internet Day aims to protect children from harm

Published On February 11, 2014 | By HN Staff | News, Sci/Tech
A photo of an individual using a computer. Courtesy of Mike Poresky, Flickr Commons.

A photo of an individual using a computer. Courtesy of Mike Poresky, Flickr Commons.

By Michael Osei

Tuesday marks Safer Internet Day to raise awareness about online safety, an initiative by organizations throughout the worldwide to protect children from online abuse and exploitation.

Victor Kwong, media relations constable for the Toronto Police Service, said the initiative is led by the Canadian Centre for Child Protection, and is supported by his force.

“Every family dynamic is different,” Kwong said when asked if parents should check on their children’s networks. “As in most parenting, parents must decide on their own what measures to take.”

“Harassment, accusations, violence, defamation and impersonation are among the cyberbullying threats young people may be vulnerable to when logging on to their electronic devices,” Ontario Provincial Police said in a press release this week.

Det.-Const. Michele Bond said children should seek help from those they trust.

“What happens with children is that they get themselves in a situation and they think they can handle it,” Bond said today during a press conference at the Toronto Police Headquarters.

“But then it happens that they realize they can’t handle it anymore. They’re afraid that they’re going to get in trouble and their electronics are going to be taken away but [the children] just end up getting deeper and deeper in trouble and they feel like they can’t get out of it.”

She stressed the importance of making sure someone knows about the problem.

“There’s always a way, there’s always somebody they can talk to. Before it gets too far, talk to somebody about it.”

Openmedia.ca is a Vancouver based website filled with organizations united together with the aim of safeguarding the open Internet. David Christopher, communications manager for openmedia.ca told Humber News that Safer Internet Day is a great idea.

“I know there are number of opt-in tools, I think ‘net nanny’ might be one of them,” he said.

“Parents can specify certain categories of websites where they would not like their children visit. I think those kinds of opt-in solutions – many parents find welcome and helpful.”

Christopher said that it’s important that parents have such tools that can reassure them that their children are safe online.

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