News and Media

SCHOOL'S OUT FOR SUMMER; PARENTS CAN KEEP KIDS SAFER IN THE WIRELESS WORLD

Canadian Centre for Child Protection and TELUS offer mobile safety guide and a unique website geared toward educating parents and adolescents

Winnipeg, MB - With summer holidays now in full swing, today's parents are looking to keep connected with their children through the use of cell phones and other technology. The Canadian Centre for Child Protection and TELUS have partnered to create a series of mobile safety education tools to address the increase in mobile use by adolescents and the potential risks associated with misuse of wireless technology.

The campaign is the first of its kind in Canada and one that is greatly needed for today's parents whose children are more and more likely to have their own mobile phone. Lianna McDonald, Executive Director of the Canadian Centre for Child Protection, said the increase in mobile use among Canada's youth calls for new safety approaches from parents.

"While mobile phones are enriching our lives in many ways, they also present some risks, but those risks can be managed with education and open communication between parents and their children," said McDonald. "Together with TELUS, we are providing Canadian parents with the information and strategies they need to keep their families safer while using wireless and mobile technology."

"As a founding partner with the Canadian Centre for Child Protection, TELUS is pleased to assist in the creation of this vital program and provide parents with the tools to help keep their children safe from harm," said Josh Blair, TELUS executive vice-president of Human Resources. "As a father, I'm proud of the efforts the Canadian Centre for Child Protection and TELUS are making to raise awareness with parents and their children about the safe and responsible use of cell phones and other mobile technology."

Parents can now access important information - including downloading a new Mobile Safety Guide - at the Canadian Centre for Child Protection/TELUS Mobile Safety website: www.mobility.protectchildren.ca. The goal is to educate parents about the potential risks posed to adolescents using mobile phones and to highlight age-specific strategies to keep them safe.

Parents can learn more about the responsible use of cell phones and potential risks associated with text messaging, camera/video phones, Internet and mobile TV access, and exposure to inappropriate material. In addition, the new website provides parents with specific strategies for children ages 10-12, 13-15 and 16-17. Each section provides mobile safety education that is developmentally appropriate for the age of the child.

If you are a member of the media and would like to arrange an interview with one of our spokespeople please contact our communications team:

Communications, Canadian Centre for Child Protection

Phone:
204-945-8074
204-801-2979 (Cell)

Email:
communications@protectchildren.ca


BACKGROUNDER: Mobile Safety

Age-Appropriate Safety Strategies: (Source: www.mobility.protectchildren.ca)

10 - 12 years old: At this age, children take great interest in having their own mobile phone, and have been exposed to mobile phone technology through television, advertising, peers, siblings, and parents. It is important to establish basic principles and guidelines regarding mobile phone use. Some key strategies:

  • Teach your child that replying to a voice/text message will disclose his/her mobile phone number to strangers via caller ID
  • Limit your child's downloading of ringtones, games, etc. to reputable sites

13 - 15 years old: At this age, many adolescents have their own mobile phone. 13-15 year-old adolescents are typically quite familiar with mobile phone technology; it is important to reinforce basic principles and guidelines regarding mobile phone use. Some key strategies:

  • Learn how to block calls/messages from unwanted users on your adolescent's phone
  • Reinforce that your adolescent should never respond to any unwanted messages

16-17 years old: At this age, many adolescents have their own mobile phone, and have typically integrated mobile phone technology into their daily routines; however, it is still important to reinforce basic principles and guidelines regarding mobile phone use. Some key strategies:

  • Remind your adolescent to save any messages with malicious content, and to share them with you or another trusted adult in case it needs to be reported
  • Ensure your adolescent never discloses his/her location when updating blogs or social networking sites remotely

Please visit www.mobility.protectchildren.ca for more information on the potential risks posed to children/adolescents using mobile phones, and to highlight proactive strategies that can be used to help keep children/adolescents safe.

NOTE: The Canadian Centre for Child Protection does not recommend that parents purchase mobile phones for children under the age of 11 years. However, if the decision to purchase a phone for a child is made, parents are being encouraged to carefully consider the information contained in the Mobile Safety guide and the Canadian Centre for Child Protection/TELUS Mobile Safety website: www.mobility.protectchildren.ca.