Youth have been online more than ever due to the on-going COVID-19 pandemic. This has forced youth to learn, socialize and connect from within the confines of their home. And parents, overwhelmed by managing online school, work and other family responsibilities, have been left with very little time to focus on keeping up with online safety for their kids. One of the many negative consequences of the pandemic is that youth have become even more vulnerable to various online threats, including phishing, fraud, ID theft, bullying and exploitation. Increases in serious online incidents like these have been reported by law enforcement, child protective services and other youth support providers like Kids Help Phone.
Parents need tools to help their children navigate their online world in ways that allow them to leverage the opportunities available through this technology while staying safe. Safer Internet Day is an opportunity to double down on the message that there are many easy resources parents can use to help facilitate and promote online safety.
As a STEM organization building digital literacy skills among Canadian youth, Actua is helping youth combat these threats by empowering them with the skills, awareness and confidence needed to critically assess online interactions, avert threats and become good digital citizens.
Actua’s new Engage. Empower. Connect. (E2C) project seeks to build positive digital behaviours from the ground up to create a new cyber smart generation ready to embrace the challenges of the digital age. We do this by:
As part of this project, Actua is today releasing a Cyber Smart Framework to help educators and families understand the key concepts and ideas involved in staying safe online and connect it to curriculum kids are already learning in-school. We have also curated a library of online learning resources on online safety.
For Safer Internet Day, we are reminding parents and teachers of our top 5 resources to keep kids safe online: