Talk to Your Children About Sharing Personal Images and Videos on the Internet

School is a little bit more than one week away and parents and their children are busy preparing their school supplies and wardrobe. Besides the requisite pencils, erasers and copybooks, today’s tech savvy children also carry smartphones, cameras, tablets and/or laptops. Snapchat, Facebook, and text messaging are standard communication tools for many students, who have no qualms sharing personal information, pictures and videos on the Internet.

While Canadian schoolchildren today may be more digitally savvy than their parents, their online activities may not always be safe and don’t always meet with parental approval. A McAfee study conducted earlier this year found 76 per cent of Canadian youth admit to hiding online behaviour from their parents and 56 per cent have visited websites or viewed videos their parents would disapprove of. More statistics from the survey are available at

For children today, the school experience can be far different from that of their parents, and they may think that parents do not understand their generation. With all the technology available to today’s students come new responsibilities for parents. To help bridge the gap between generations and start a conversation between parents and children, McAfee offers some tips parents can use to help protect their children:

  • Turn off GPS services – disabling GPS helps keep children invisible to strangers.
  • Enable privacy settings – this helps keep children’s personal information private.
  • Teach them what is inappropriate to share – many teens and tweens underestimate the danger of sharing contact information (e-mail addresses, phone numbers and home addresses) and personal images and videos.

Children may balk at these restrictions and it’s a perfect time to start a conversation about the importance of digital privacy. Probably the most important thing parents can do to protect their children (especially teens) is to keep communication lines open. This means to respect them, listen to them and support them. Starting the conversation with older children may not be easy but it will tell them that you are always there for them.

This video presents “The Scan: 5 Ways to Keep Your Kids Safe Online.”

  • “Do you know what your kids are doing online? This episode of The Scan talks about 5 ways you can keep your kids safe on the internet.
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