News and Media

CHILDREN LEARN TO BE SAFE ONLINE WITH NEW INTERACTIVE TOOL

Zoe and Molly Online - an essential toolkit for parents and teachers

Calgary, Alberta (February 24, 2009) - A unique, interactive online safety program - Zoe and Molly Online - was launched today by the Canadian Centre for Child Protection, in partnership with Shaw Communications Inc, with grade 4 students at Jennie Elliott Elementary School in Calgary, Alberta. The Zoe and Molly campaign is being rolled out to almost 10,000 schools nationwide as part of the 'Be aware before you share' initiative. The launch coincides with Calgary's Online Safety Week, February 21-28.

"According to our student advisory groups, 89 percent of grade 4 students play games online and by grades 5 and 6 they're building online relationships and sending pictures," said Lianna McDonald, Executive Director of the Canadian Centre for Child Protection. "While these games can be fun and often educational, it is important that children are aware of potential risks and know strategies to protect themselves from potential danger."

The new Zoe and Molly website enables parents and educators to teach children aged 8 to 10 how to be safe when sharing personal information, pictures and videos over the Internet. Children engage through an online game allowing them to create their own avatar and complete the online comic book. The website tools work in tandem with a paper version of the Zoe and Molly comic book, which tells the story of two grade 5 girls who learn how to be safe on the Internet. Zoe and Molly comic books will be distributed to nearly 300,000 grade 4 students across Canada and to homes with children where Shaw technicians are installing internet services.

"Shaw takes great responsibility in ensuring we do our best to keep children safe on the Internet. That's why, as a founding partner of the Canadian Centre for Child Protection, we have donated $300,000 to help develop the Zoe and Molly program," said Brad Shaw, Senior Vice President of Operations for Shaw Communications Inc. "Together we are reaching out to the entire community to engage all users to patrol the Internet through Cybertip.ca and to learn how to keep it a safe place for children to learn and grow."

"In any given month, Cybertip.ca averages about 700 reports on everything from Internet luring and child abuse images to exploitive child modeling. This fact only underscores how critically important initiatives like Zoe and Molly are to the overall protection of Canadian children, and how partners like Shaw really do make a difference," added McDonald. "We urge parents to go to the website, engage their children and together take steps to make their online experience a safe one."

"Internet safety is a key issue for all educators and parents," said Rita Dickson, Principal of Jennie Elliott Elementary School. "Students are becoming tech savvy at younger ages, so it is essential that we embed online safety education strategy into our curriculum. The Calgary Board of Education consistently seeks best practice educational practice. This is the reason that we welcome the opportunity to engage our students in new and exciting ways, like the launch of Zoe and Molly online. This type of initiative will help keep our students safe as they learn and communicate online."

Visit www.zoeandmolly.ca to learn more about Zoe and Molly and to access the online game.

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The Canadian Centre for Child Protection is a charitable organization dedicated to the personal safety of all children. Our goal is to reduce child victimization by providing programs and services to Canadians. We do this through public awareness activities, our personal safety education program (Kids in the Know), our national tipline to report online sexual abuse of children (Cybertip.ca), and our program to help organizations prevent child sexual abuse (Commit to Kids).

Shaw Communications Inc. is a diversified communications company whose core business is providing broadband cable television, High-Speed Internet, Digital Phone, telecommunications services (through Shaw Business Solutions) and satellite direct-to-home services (through Star Choice). The Company serves 3.4 million customers, including over 1.6 million Internet and 670,000 residential Digital Phone customers, through a reliable and extensive network, which comprises 625,000 kilometres of fibre. Shaw is traded on the Toronto and New York stock exchanges and is included in the S&P/TSX 60 Index (TSX: SJR.B) (NYSE: SJR).

The Zoe and Molly comic is based on a real case submitted to Cybertip.ca - the Canadian Centre for Child Protection's national tipline for reporting the online sexual exploitation of children.

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