Today Intel Security released findings from a recent global study, “New Family Dynamics in a Connected World,” that aims to better comprehend how families’ attitudes and habits are evolving as their homes and lifestyles become increasingly connected. This study underscores the need for simple ways for parents to manage internet connectivity in their homes – from blocking inappropriate sites to controlling the amount of time users spend on their devices to disconnecting to the internet entirely from time to time.
Parents often feel overwhelmed with their child’s use of technology, and struggle to stay abreast of the latest apps and trends or to have some level of involvement in their child’s online activities.
While they want to keep their child safe, they’re not always sure what to do and often rely on their child’s school to provide guidelines.
Sameer Hinduja, Ph.D., a professor in the School of Criminology and Criminal Justice at Florida Atlantic University, cautions that both educators and parents must to do their part.
Keeping children safe while they are using their gadgets is very important to parents and grandparents alike. There are numerous inappropriate apps and websites out there that you wouldn’t want a child to be using.
We also need to worry about cyberbullying, online predators, sexting, and even the risk of internet addiction. One way to know what your teenager is up to is to take a look at what they are texting to others. However, monitoring those text messages won’t always tell the entire story.
By accident as much as design, Canada’s child pornography laws are blunt and broad. Applied to the letter, they criminalize common youthful sexual activity, and are dangerously ill-suited to the digital age, according to parents, lawyers, academics, even judges.
“We’re kind of in this bubble where people know there’s a problem,” says Andrea Slane, who researches sexting as associate professor of legal studies at the University of Ontario Institute of Technology. But solutions are elusive.
‘We have a fundamental issue in the UK that there are many parents who choose for whatever reason to allow it,’ he told the communications committee of the House of Lords.
‘They know their children are on Facebook. Often they have helped their children get on to Facebook. That is very, very hard, when that happens, for us to know that person is not the age they say they are.’
Mr Milner said Facebook knew many under-13s were using its service but warned there was no easy solution. ‘When millions of parents are making that decision, how can we enforce it?’ he said.
MediaSmarts has created the Impact! How to Make a Difference When You Witness Bullying Online program: a suite of resources for youth, parents, and teachers to support witnesses to cyberbullying. The program, which launched as part of Bullying Awareness Week (Nov. 13 – 19) was funded by TELUS.
The resources include:
· A step-by-step, online interactive decision-making tool that helps students choose effective strategies for intervening in different cyberbullying situations;
· A classroom lesson that supports the decision-making tool, with additional role-playing activities for students;
· A parents’ guide, Helping Our Kids Navigate Cyberbullying, to help parents better support their kids if they’re targets of or witnesses to cyberbullying; and
· A series of printable posters for the classroom that promote low-risk ways of intervening when students witness cyberbullying.
All of these resources build upon the findings from Young Canadians’ Experiences with Online Bullying, a 2015 study conducted by MediaSmarts and PREVNet and funded by TELUS. The research aimed to discover three things: what are the barriers to witness intervention in cyberbullying? What incentives can increase the likelihood of witness intervention? And which interventions are more or less likely to have a positive outcome? The findings informed the development of the Impact! program, which provides advice to youth, families, and educators for effective intervening in cyberbullying situations.
Research finds more studies are needed to understand why depression is increasing fastest among teenage girls, and more needs to be done to improve access to depression care for all young people.