OPP is offering a new program for parents to protect kids online

With Crime Prevention Week underway Nov. 7 to 13, the OPP has introduced an effective new cyber safety program designed to help parents keep their children safe while they are using the Internet.

The Wellington County OPP has been delivering similar programs here for several years.

The OPP Crime Prevention Section developed the program in partnership with Cowan Insurance Group and the OPP Youth Foundation to raise awareness and educate parents about how to ensure that children are having safe online experiences.

While the Internet provides learning opportunities for youth, it also opens the door to the potential exploitation of children, including cyber bullying and other online threats.

The program was designed to address those threats and provides the information parents need, in order to recognize what risks exist as their children learn and play in the online world.

It also provides them the tools to be aware of what sites their children are accessing and how to monitor their internet use.

“The program focuses on parents and prevention, and while officers are active in schools educating our kids about safe internet use, it it’s important that parents also be engaged and educated about Internet safety, as they are instrumental in keeping their kids safe while online” said OPP Inspector Mark Allan, of the Crime Prevention Section.

The cyber safety program consists of a training kit and resource package that will be provided to OPP Community Services Officers and School Resource Officers who will deliver presentations and make the material available to parents in communities throughout the province.

Cyber safety program

The Cyber Safety program was created by the OPP in partnership with the  Cowan Foundation, the Ontario Provincial Police Youth Foundation and  the OPP.

The program provides education and awareness designed to  provide parents with essential tools to recognize the risks associated  to the Internet and to encourage a safer cyber experience for their  children while they are online.

The launch of the cyber safety program coincides with the 2010 Crime  Prevention Week theme  Connecting to kids today – preventing crime tomorrow.

The program consists of a training and resource package which includes a  CD, videos, handouts, and instructional material.

The program is the latest example of the various programs created by the OPP and its community partners to promote crime prevention through  school-based and community-based activities.

There is an internet safety checklist for Parents.

Parents should discuss the potential dangers of the internet with their children and educate them on how to handle situations that may arise.

Here are some basic steps parents can take to protect their children:

– be involved and know your child’s online activity;

– Keep the computer in an open area of the home;

– remind children to protect their passwords;

– encourage them not to share  passwords with friends;

– use caution with web cams, unplug web cams when they’re not in use;

– be sure of who they’re talking to before allowing them to turn on a web  cam and enter your home;

– make sure children are cautious with what they post online;

– know their online friends the same way they know friends in real life.

The Wellington County OPP has been delivering internet safety programs to parents and children for several years, according to OPP Constable Keith Robb.

He said he visited grade 4 to 8 student at St. Joseph school in Fergus last week. His next offering is for parents and it will be held in Drayton at the arena on Nov. 24 at 7pm.

For more information about internet safety tips for parents, go to:  http://www.opp.ca/ecms/files/250363925.pdf.