What can I do to keep my son or daughter healthy in the digital world?
Keeping your son or daughter safe online:
- Review the OCSB Responsible use Policy with your son or daughter every year. (K-6) (7-12)
- Be aware of the dangers of sharing personal information.
- Encourage reporting of inappropriate content.
- Remind your child that bullying occurs online. Encourage positive, polite and affirming relationships online and elsewhere.
- Youth should be aware that there are legal implications and consequences to the inappropriate use of images, cyberbullying, plagiarism and hacking.
- Plagiarism occurs when a student uses another person’s work or ideas and represents it as their own. It is a serious offence of academic dishonesty and can be grounds for dismissal from most colleges and universities. The internet has made it easy to copy other people’s work. As such, it is important that we teach students how to properly credit sources and how to generate and share their own ideas.
- Remind your son or daughter to keep their passwords secret.
- Help your child be discerning about information that they see online. Encourage ‘critical literacy’, reminding them that not all things they find online are factual. For some useful resources visit https://mediasmarts.ca
- Remind your son or daughter that a "punch" online still hurts. The way they behave online is still a reflection of who they are as a real person.
Monitor Screen time
- Be aware of how much time your child spends online. You can set a schedule for family time when everyone unplugs. Negotiate a time prior to bedtime when your child can turn off their devices.
- Blue light and ongoing notifications can have an effect on sleep. Suggest a suitable place to store electronic devices to avoid disrupting sleep patterns.
Go to: https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/blue-light-has-a-dark-side for an article outlining the risks associated with too much blue light at night.
- Encourage a healthy balance to leisure time. Ensure that your child has time for outside play.
Helpful Websites for parents:
‘Kidsmart’ A UK website to encourage digital literacy. http://www.kidsmart.org.uk/beingsmart/
‘Common Sense Media’ A website that deals frankly with issues relating to social media such as sexting and cyberbullying. As well, it includes movie, book, and video game reviews specifically to help parents make decisions about their appropriateness for their child or adolescent. www.commonsensemedia.org
TVO - The education section of TV Ontario’s website includes homework help, lessons, articles about current practices in education and mPower (a math game). www.tvo.org/education
Get Cyber Safe - This website from the federal government provides a digital citizenship guide for parents. GetCyberSafe
Articles that explore issues around technology and children/adolescents:
- ‘The Sneaky Ways that Blue Light Affects Kids and Sleep’ (The Sleep Foundation)
- ‘Using Technology to Lure your Children to the Great Outdoors’ (ParentsCanada)
- '6 Nova Scotia teens charged with sharing intimate photos of 20 girls without consent' (The Star)
- 'Ruined: When Children Themselves Feel the Full Brunt of Child Pornography Laws' (National Post)
- 'Teen faces charges in connection with school board hack' (CTV news, Calgary)
- Digital Media and Sleep in Childhood and Adolescence (Pediatrics)
- Evening Screen Time Can Sabotage Sleep (Science News for Students)
Every Mind Matters Handouts from the Psychology Foundation
These one page handouts provide valuable suggestions to parents around topics such as:
- Helping kids get enough sleep
- Managing screen time
- The mental benefits of physical activity
- Talking to teens
- Helping teens with stress