Keep your family safe – online

In an effort to “encourage, educate and empower” parents and teens RCMP and FSJSS are collaborating on a free internet safety presentation.

We live in the days of smartphones, web cams and social media.

This much we know, but do you know how your family is using those technologies?

In an effort to “encourage, educate and empower” parents and teens, the Fort St. James RCMP and the Fort St. James Senior Secondary School student council are collaborating on a free internet safety presentation.

The event, aimed at helping establish an open relationship between parents and their children on internet use, will come complete with a free spaghetti dinner and door prizes.

Attendees could win a Samsung Galaxy tablet while they learn about internet safety.

Parents will learn about how to protect their children online no matter what they access and how they can teach youth the basic rules of internet safety so they can use all of it responsibly.

Youth will learn how to protect themselves and what they can do if something does happen.

While the technology changes all the time and kids always find the newest applications, websites and gadgets, they need to be taught the tools to reduce their exposure to the potential risks of the different technologies, said Jhen Bridgeman, who is helping organize the event.

While most kids aren’t getting into trouble online, she said they are at risk for cyber-bullying, exposure to inappropriate content, online predators, posting personal or inappropriate information or sexting.

But “the whole thing is not meant to scare anyone,” said Bridgeman, who works with youth at the school. She said at the school they are faced with all of those issues listed above on a daily basis.

She wants parents and teens to know what resources are out there to help and how to create discussion in the family around “netiquette” or online manners.

The presentation will be based on NetSmartz, a program put together by the National Centre for Missing and Exploited Children.

“If a person unknown to you was speaking to your child in your front yard, what would you do?” asks the poster. “If your child was communicating with the same stranger online, what would you do?”

Parents can have a look at some of the information by going to netsmartz.org.

Other online resources are: www.kidsintheknow.ca and needhelpnow.ca

The event will take place Mar. 13 in the old FSJSS gym from 5:50-7:30 p.m.