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Tips to Keep You and Your Children Safe Online

February 16, 2016 by HealthyFamilies BC

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Tips to Keep You and Your Children Safe Online

When browsing the web, it’s important to question the “facts”. Media can be informing, entertaining and persuasive, but that doesn’t always mean the information is trustworthy. We often logon in search of quick answers to health related questions. When was the last time you questioned the source?

We live in an era where we are constantly inundated with information every single day, and children are growing up with access to a broad range of information. That’s why it’s important for the whole family to know how to question and evaluate online content. Use these tips to familiarize yourself with media and digital literacy and help your child become more aware of where media comes from, what it is trying to do and how media content is made.

The importance of digital literacy:
Become media and digitally literate. Encourage your child to question what they watch and read in the media. Try discussing with them the reasons you choose certain TV programs or website over others. Remember, that even though your child may be more technology-savvy than you, it’s important that they learn how to read and analyse digital messages. Click here to learn more about different kinds of digital literacy.

Separating fact from fiction:
Finding accurate information online can be complicated at the best of times. But like everything else, if you’re willing to seek out information with an open, curious and ever questioning mind you will often find what you are looking for. Using the STRIP method can help – read this article (it was written about food and nutrition but you can use these steps as a guideline when looking up any health information).  For example, when viewing information online check for things like:

  • Is the website current
  • Is the website a trusted place (e.g. professional organization)
  • Are they promising a “quick fix” to your health concerns

Avoiding Cyberbullying:
Cyberbullying is a form of bullying that takes place using modern technology like a mobile phone, text messages, email or social media. It can happen at any time, day or night and is often anonymous. Cyberbullying can affect your child’s self-esteem and leave them feeling lonely and uninterested in school. Although tough to spot, cyberbullying can have warning signs like trouble sleeping, withdrawing from social activities or spending much longer than usual online However you can help by teaching kids internet safety – talk with them about who they’re friends with online, teach them not to give out their passwords, and to “think before posting”. Click here for more warning signs and learn tips to help your child handle cyberbullying.

The internet can be a powerful tool for learning and social interaction when used with caution. Follow these additional tips to help you and your child safely enjoy the benefits of the internet.

Related blogs

5 Essential Steps to Build Your Child’s Confidence

Recommended resources

Erase Bullying
Take a Closer Look: Media and Health
Internet Safety
Media Smarts: Cyberbullying  
Province of BC: Internet Safety

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