News and Media

NEW WEBSITE TO HELP TEACH TEENS SAFE, RESPECTFUL TEXTING PRACTICES
Substantial growth in texting underscores the need for www.textED.ca

For Immediate Release
January 21, 2010

Winnipeg, MB: The Canadian Centre for Child Protection and the Canadian Wireless Telecommunications Association (CWTA) today launched textED.ca, an innovative and interactive website designed to teach teens to be safe, responsible and respectful users of texting technologies.

Concerns surrounding teens sending sexual messages, nude photos and videos via text messaging is on the rise, yet the vast majority of kids doing so are unaware of the short-term costs and the long-term ramifications associated with their actions.

"Adolescent behavior is less inhibited with the use of technology, so they tend to say and do things that they might not otherwise do in person," said Lianna McDonald, Executive Director of the Canadian Centre. "The textED.ca site has been created to help educate youth about how to use technology respectfully and safely, and to know what to do when someone crosses the line."

From learning how to deal with textual harassers to helping teens deal with stress or a break-up, the textED.ca website incorporates games, quizzes, discussion pages, downloadables and other fun tools to help them navigate through the issues. Considering the substantial growth in texting among adolescents in recent years, the CWTA said the launch of this new website comes at a critical time.

"Wireless technology is a valuable tool to help keep today's busy families connected, and its popularity is growing at an incredible pace. However, while texting is a fun and fast way of communicating, it's important that users know how to do so safely and responsibly," said Bernard Lord, CWTA President and CEO. "We are pleased to be partnering with the Canadian Centre on this much-needed initiative that will go a long way towards increasing the safety of Canada's youth."

"While police often visit schools or community groups to teach kids about safety, it is resources like textED.ca, that if properly and widely used to educate children, will help police officers focus their time being protectors more often than educators," said Kingston police Detective, Stephanie Morgan. "Our local text-luring case is proof positive that there is an education gap that needs to be addressed, and we applaud the Canadian Centre and the CWTA for filling that gap."

Today's initial launch of textED.ca includes the piloting of the site in 100 Grade 7 classrooms across the country. Teachers will use a series of safety lessons and the website to help guide their students through respectful conduct when texting, and to teach them life skills that will allow them to fully benefit from what is now a very public, technological world. Teachers are encouraged to visit www.textED.ca to access lesson plans and for details on an exciting class project contest.


BACKGROUNDER: Cybertip.ca Case Example and Texting Statistics

Cybertip.ca Case Example - Luring by texting:


A 14-year-old girl from Ontario was engaging in text message exchanges with an individual purporting to be a 15-year-old male. The male was apparently attempting to lure the girl to meet him in Kingston, four hours away from her home town. The girl had met the suspect on "Speed Date" and was planning to run away with him.

Cybertip.ca forwarded the information to Kingston police, and following their investigation, a 20-year-old male was arrested and charged with luring and four other charges related to breaching probation. The male was known to the police as he had just been released from custody after being convicted of physically assaulting another girl that he had met on the Internet. In addition, the accused was wanted in three provinces for charges including sexual assault and threats against a girl whom he had met on the Internet and then moved in with.

The media is encouraged to remind the public to report the online sexual exploitation of children to Cybertip.ca. For more information on the Kingston case example, media may contact Kingston police Detective Stephanie Morgan at: 613-549-4660

Texting Statistics: Did you know?
(Statistics provided by the Canadian Wireless Telecommunications Association)

  • In September 2009, Canadians sent approximately 100 million text messages per day.
  • In total, Canadians sent 3 billion text messages in September 2009.
  • For the first nine months of the year, a total of 24.7 billion text messages were sent (from January 2009 to September 2009).
  • This is up significantly from the previous year, when a total of 20.8 billion text messages were sent in 2008.
  • Text message volumes have been doubling every year since text messaging was introduced in 2002.

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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