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Tips for parents to protect kids online

When it comes to social media and online best practices, parents need to teach their kids to make sensible decisions. Credit: Shutterstock


In an effort to help young people navigate the harms they may encounter online and on social media, one RCMP officer is taking action.

RCMP Cst. Jason Davies, a father of two, developed a digital literacy program to give parents information to help guide their kids.

Davies says poor decision making can lead to instances of cyberbullying, harassment, sexting, sharing sexual images and even assaults. He adds, simply telling kids to avoid certain websites or social media platforms won't work.

"We have to build trust with our kids so they know how dangerous some sites and certain behaviours are," says Davies, who's based in Coquitlam, B.C.

Here's some advice he shares with parents through his program.

Caregivers and kids

Know your kids and their friends. Informed parents know what their kids are doing online and who they're talking to.

Be your child's guide through challenging situations and teach them how to communicate online.

Safety and sharing

Keep passwords confidential and don't share or post personal information.

Instruct kids to send only safe content — texts and photos that will not embarrass them later. They should share them only with people they know and trust.

Once content is online or on a social media platform, it's difficult to erase.

Create good habits

For younger kids, get them used to going online or using their mobile devices with a parent around.

For older children, monitor how they use their own devices, what they're seeing and sending, and how they use their screen time.

Where to go for help

Ask your kids to tell you if they see or receive any text or images that make them feel uncomfortable.

For inappropriate content, contact the website or platform administrators directly by clicking on "report abuse" or "report an ad."

If your child informs you of a problem where there's an immediate danger, call 911 or your local police.

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