February 9, 2005

ARTICLES & ADDITIONAL INFO: International Safer Internet Day reinforces the importance of online safety

SOURCE: http://www.newswire.ca/en/releases/archive/February2005/08/c1914.html

International Safer Internet Day reinforces the importance of online safety

    Canadian parents unaware of children's Internet habits, study shows      TORONTO, Feb. 8 /CNW/ - As part of "Safer Internet Day," Media Awareness Network is encouraging parents to get more involved in their children's online activities. Research by Media Awareness Network, Canada's leading Internet education organization, shows that Canadian parents know very little about their children's online activities and they rarely communicate with their children about Internet safety.     "Few parents understand their kids' Internet culture and the more complex issues of safety, privacy, online predators and cyber bullying," said Cathy Wing, Director, Community Programming, Media Awareness Network. "International Safer Internet Day is a reminder to us all that we must be vigilant about what our children are doing online. Used responsibly, the Internet can be an excellent educational tool. It's essential for parents to educate themselves in order to safeguard their children against the potential pitfalls."      Research conducted by the Media Awareness Network concluded that:     -  70 per cent of children say their parents talk to them very little        about what sites they visit     -  Nearly 7 out of 10 children say their parents never sit with them        while they surf     -  65 per cent of children say their parents don't use filters or blocks     -  Less than half of children say their parents never check to see what        sites they've visited      In January 2004, Media Awareness Network, Microsoft Canada and Bell Canada created a national education and awareness campaign called Be Web Aware to provide Canadian parents with the information and tools they need so they can help their children experience all the great benefits of the Internet while ensuring they are protected from the negative forces that come with it.      Parents are encouraged to go to www.bewebaware.ca for the tools and information they need. Here are some recommendations available on the web site:     -  Keep your computer in a highly visible area such as the kitchen, never        isolated in a child's room.     -  Teach your kids the value of their personal information and to protect        their privacy on the Internet by not sharing personal details when        using chat rooms, bulletin boards, instant messaging or visiting web        sites. This includes name, gender, age, home address, e-mail address,        phone number, picture, credit card information or passwords.     -  Lead young children to high-quality non-commercial sites for kids that        are fun and educational.     -  Read the privacy policies on web sites.     -  Sit with your kids when they're registering for Instant Messaging or        e-mail accounts to make sure they protect their personal information        and do NOT fill in an online personal profile.     -  Set clear rules about what kind of sites your children are allowed to        visit.     -  Talk with your children about predators and potential online dangers.     -  If your children use Instant Messaging, check who is on your        children's contact list. Find out if they know each person and        encourage them to delete the names of people they have not already met        in person.     -  If your children participate in chat rooms, make it your business to        know what chat rooms they visit and who they talk to. Monitor the chat        areas yourself to see what kind of conversations are going on.      The 2004 Be Web Aware coalition participants included: Alliance Atlantis, Bell Canada, Canadian Association of Internet Providers, Canadian Library Association, CanWest Global Communications Corp., CHUM Television, CORUS Entertainment, Craig Media Inc., CTV Inc. and its specialty television networks, ctv.ca, globeandmail.com, Microsoft Canada, msn.ca, Rogers Cable Communications Inc., Shaw Communications Inc., sympatico.ca, TELUS and the Government of Canada.      About Media Awareness Network     Media Awareness Network is a non-profit Canadian organization whose mission is to support and encourage media and Internet education, and its widest possible integration into Canadian schools, homes and communities. Its aim is to help adults guide children and youth to develop an informed and critical understanding of the nature of the media, the techniques used in creating media products, and the media's role and influence within society.    
For further information: visit www.bewebaware.ca or contact:  Stephanie Bell, Media Profile, (416) 504-8464, stephanie@mediaprofile.com;  Rachel-Joy Thexton, Media Profile, (416) 504-8464 No. 251 
Chris Schuepp
Young People's Media Network - Coordinator
c/o ECMC (European Centre for Media Competence)
Bergstr. 8 / 10th floor
D-45770 Marl - Germany
Tel.: +49 2365 502480
Mobile: +49 176 23107083
Fax: +49 12126 23107083
Email: cschuepp@unicef.org
URL: www.unicef.org/magic
Mailing list: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/youthful-media
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