Online Crime Safety

Online Safety Tips - Talking to your children 

General rules for ensuring Internet safety

  • Educate yourself about the Internet.
  • It's important to be knowledgeable about the Internet, because even if you don't have a computer at home, your child can access it at school, at a friend's house, or at your public library.
  • Create a family agreement for Internet use, including hours of use, which sites can be accessed and which ones shouldn't be. 
  • Place your computer in a central, open location, like the living room, so Internet use can be supervised.
  • No mobile devices or computers in bedrooms or bathrooms.
  • Create a central charging station for overnight charging of mobile devices.

Guiding your child online

  • Look at the sites your child visits.
  • Look into software or online services that filter out offensive material. Check with your Internet service provider for any blocking features they might offer.
  • Consider installing a children's search engine, like the safesearchkids search engine.
  • Create a special folder of bookmarks, or favourites, for your child on your computers browser.
  • Use built in device restrictions Ex: iOS devices, limit app installations, control content, control apps.

Preserving your family's privacy

  • If you have a web site or social network profile, avoid putting your children's pictures on it.
  • No Sharenting: Sharenting is a term used to describe the overuse of social media by parents to share content based on their children.
  • Teach your children to never give out identifying information about any family member. This includes: names, addresses, phone numbers, e-mail addresses, passwords or credit card numbers.
  • Encourage your children to tell you if anyone is pressuring them for personal information.
  • Teach your children that talking to a stranger on the Internet is no different than talking to a stranger at the mall or on the street.
  • Search your children's name using popular search engines, blogs, and social network platforms to see what comes up on their public record.
  • Use social networks to learn about social networks. Ex: Watch a YouTube video about Instagram.

Limiting possible risks

  • Talk to your children about potential online dangers such as giving out personal information to strangers. Chat room or chat application acquaintances are strangers and your child should never arrange to meet them in the real world unless you give permission and or know who they are.
  • Steer your children away from public chat rooms and applications that allow for random messaging from strangers.
  • Ask questions if your children begin to receive phone calls from strangers, or place calls to people you don't know. Be persistent and take appropriate action.
  • Tell your children that if someone harasses them on-line, says something inappropriate, or makes them feel uncomfortable in any way they should tell you, their teacher, or a trusted adult.
  • Contact the police immediately (519-570-9777) if your child receives child pornography, has been sexually solicited, sextorted, or has received sexually explicit images from an adult.

Signs Your Child May Be a Victim of Cyberbullying

  • Avoids the computer, cell phone, and other technological devices or appears stressed when receiving an e-mail, instant message, or text.
  • Withdraws from family and friends or acts reluctant to attend school and social events.
  • Avoids conversations about computer use.
  • Exhibits signs of low self-esteem including depression and/or fear.
  • Has declining grades.
  • Has poor eating or sleeping habits.

Protecting Children From Bullying

Don't wait until a child has been cyberbullied to talk about it. The messages below can help children think before they cyberbully, stop it from escalating, and create an environment where cyberbullying is not accepted.

  • It's OK not to like someone. It's not OK to bully them.
  • If you see something online that's meant to hurt someone, don't "like" or share it. Think about how you'd feel if someone did that to you.
  • If someone cyberbullies you, you may want to send a mean comment back, but it could make this worse. Instead, save the evidence and report it.
  • Being a good digital citizen means standing up for others. Take steps to help peers being cyberbullied (Ex: post nice comments, sit with them at lunch, report the harassment, etc.).

Discussion Starters

Use these discussion starters to get an Internet safety conversation going with your children.

Ask children:

  • Have you ever been upset with someone online? How did you deal with it?
  • Has someone ever sent you a mean message online? How did it make you feel?
  • If you knew someone was being cyberbullied, what would you do?
  • Do you know where to report cyberbullying on the websites and apps you use? Who would you talk to at school?


As children grow and develop, they become more interested in relationships and sex. While curiosity and exploration are natural, advancements in technology have opened up a new and potentially dangerous way for teens to explore their sexuality: sexting.

Sexting is the sharing and receiving of sexually explicit messages and nude or partially nude images via cell phone. Sexts may be sent as regular text messages or through apps, like Snapchat, Kik and WhatsApp. Teens may sext for a variety of reasons. They may be trying to establish intimacy with a boyfriend or girlfriend, impress a crush, or be funny. Others may feel pressured into sexting by boyfriends or girlfriends who may threaten to break up with them if they don't send a picture.


For more information and resources, please visit the Get Cyber Safe website or the Cyber Tip website.

For information on removing pictures and videos and additional resources visit the Need Help Now website

Check out NetSmartz Workshop. It is an interactive, educational program of the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC) that provides age-appropriate resources to help teach children how to be safer on- and offline. The program is designed for children ages 5-17, parents and guardians, educators, and law enforcement. With resources such as videos, games, activity cards, and presentations, NetSmartz entertains while it educates.

Go to the Common Sense Media website it is an independent nonprofit organization dedicated to helping kids thrive in a world of media and technology. They empower parents, teachers, and policymakers by providing unbiased information, trusted advice, and innovative tools to help kids harness the power of media and technology as a positive force.

For information on specific social media platforms like Instagram and Snap Chat go to the Safe Smart Social website.

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