Our children are young. They’ve grown up using the internet to learn to tie their shoes, watching unboxing videos and communicating with family members. As they grow, they’re just going to be more and more connected, leading us to begin the internet safety dialogue, at the tender age of six years old.
Today is Safer Internet Day, a day focused on teaching children about the safe use of technology and mobile phones. With kids that are growing up native to technology, it’s more important than ever to support initiatives like Safer Internet Day and #PinkShirtPromise, a national campaign invites Canadians to use social media to make a personal pledge to end bullying, up until Pink Shirt Day, February 24th.
“Bullying is destructive, emotionally damaging, and, in some cases, deadly, and no child should have to suffer from its harmful and negative effects. Shaw’s #PinkShirtPromise campaign is a powerful initiative that gives us the ability to work closely with our partners to create safer environments for children and youth – whether at school, at home, or online.”
– Brad Shaw
Bullying is an important part of the dialogue with our children and one of the parallels we discuss, online and offline. To support safe internet use, we use parental controls when they’re using online services like YouTube. To prevent bullying, we keep the dialogue open and reaffirm that bullying behavior isn’t an acceptable way to behave offline (and online). We ensure that we’re engaged in conversations and dialogue that are going to raise children that are includers.
How to Keep Kids Safe Online
For now, we’re taking those first steps to keep the kids safe online. As they get older, the methods and techniques about how we approach it will change, and the dialogue will remain strong (and open).
To keep the kids safe online, as we go into the future when they’re spending more time using technology, we’ll use the following techniques:
- be aware of their online presence, follow their social media pages
- have access to passwords
- mobile phones and wi-fi devices away at a certain time of night
- monitor their internet use
- keep the dialogue open and reaffirm they can talk to us about anything
Make Your #PinkShirtPromise
Learn more about Safer Internet Day and see how you can get involved in the Pink Shirt Promises campaign. Post your promise on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook using the hashtag #pinkshirtpromise to take part in the conversation.
Post: a photo of you and a friend giving a pinky promise to stop bullying, nominate friends to do the same.
Everyone who participates in the campaign will be entered for a chance to win an ET Canada Experience, which includes flights for two to Toronto and two nights hotel accommodation, and a $1,500 dollar shopping spree at a participating shopping centre.
What’s your #pinkshirtpromise going to be?