Statistics on Canadian Youth and Chat Rooms Use of chat rooms by Canadian youth, aged 9-17 Chat is a very popular activity across all age ranges, but parents are generally unaware of this: 56 per cent (six in ten) of all kids use chat rooms. 67 per cent of secondary school kids use them. But only 12 per cent of parents say their kids use chat rooms. Most younger kids behave safely in chat rooms – but more than half of the older kids engage in risky behaviours, such as going to private areas of chat rooms or visiting adult chat rooms: Some 33 per cent of 9-10-year-olds use chat rooms, and 26 per cent visit private and adult chat areas. 56 per cent of 11-12-year-olds visit chat rooms, and 37 per cent visit private and adult chat areas. 75 per cent of 13-14-year-olds visit chat rooms, and 54 per cent visit private and adult chat areas. 72 per cent of 15-17-year-olds visit chat rooms, and upwards of 60 per cent visit private and adult chat areas. Kids in secondary school are more likely to report going into adult chat rooms.
Experiences with people on the Internet Many kids are asked for personal information and in-person meetings by online acquaintances: More than four in ten kids (43 per cent) say they have met someone on the Internet who asked for personal information about them, such as their photo, phone number, street address or school. Of the kids who were asked for this kind of information, only 8 per cent told a parent about it. Nearly half (46 per cent) of kids say that someone has made unwanted sexual comments to them on the Internet. 25 per cent of younger kids report that someone they met online asked to meet them in person; and that figure jumps to 43 per cent for 15-17-year-olds. Of the 15 per cent of kids who did meet an Internet friend in person, 6 per cent went with a parent or other adult, and 9 per cent took a friend or went alone. Of the kids who did meet an Internet friend in person, 67 per cent say they have no rules about this kind of activity. Of the kids who met an Internet friend in person, 12 per cent say the experience was a bad one.
What children are at risk? The children most at risk may display the following traits: New online and unfamiliar with Netiquette Actively seeking attention/affection Rebellious Isolated or lonely Curious Confused regarding sexual identity Easily tricked by adults
Talk to your kids about sexual predators and potential online dangers. Young children shouldn't use chat rooms, period—the dangers are too great. As children get older, steer them towards well-monitored chat rooms for kids. Even teens should be encouraged to use monitored chat rooms. (For a listing of safe chat rooms for kids, see Finding Great Kids' Sites on the right sidebar.) Instruct your children to never leave the public area of a chat room. Many chat rooms offer private areas where users can have one-on-one conversations. How can parents minimize the risk of a child becoming a victim?
Talk to your teen . Seventy percent of teens surveyed for Young Canadians in a Wired World say their parents talk to them very little about their Internet use. Finding out where kids are going online – and who they are talking to – is not infringing on privacy but smart parenting.
Establish rules. Be clear with your child about what they should and should not do on the Internet.
Learn about computers. Take a computer or Internet course and then discuss with your children.
Family Online Agreements A family online agreement is a set of rules for home Internet use. An online agreement should offer your kids clear guidelines on: Where they can go online, and what they can do there How much time they can spend on the Internet What to do if anything makes them uncomfortable How to protect their personal information; stay safe in interactive environments; and behave ethically and responsibly online
Family Contract for Online Safety Parents' Pledge I agree to the above _____________________________________________ Parent(s) I understand that my parent(s) has agreed to these rules and agree to help my parent(s) explore the Internet with me. _____________________________________________ Child sign here I will try get to know my child's "online friends" just as I try get to know his or her other friends. 6. I will help make the Internet a family activity and ask my child to help plan family events using the Internet. 5. I promise not to use a PC or the Internet as an electronic babysitter. 4. I will not overreact if my child tells me about a problem he or she is having on the Internet. Instead, we'll work together to try to solve the problem and prevent it from happening again. 3. I will set reasonable rules and guidelines for computer use by my children and will discuss these rules and post them near the computer as a reminder. I'll remember to monitor their compliance with these rules, especially when it comes to the amount of time they spend on the computer. 2. I will get to know the services and web sites my child uses. If I don't know how to use them, I'll get my child to show me how 1.
Family Contract for Online SafetyKids' Pledge I agree to the above _____________________________________ Child sign here I will help my child follow this agreement and will allow reasonable use of the Internet as long as these rules and other family rules are followed. _____________________________________ Parent(s) sign here I will be a good online citizen and not do anything that hurts other people or is against the law. 8. I will not give out my Internet password to anyone (even my best friends) other than my parents 7. I will talk with my parents so that we can set up rules for going online. We will decide upon the time of day that I can be online, the length of time I can be online, and appropriate areas for me to visit. I will not access other areas or break these rules without their permission 6. I will not respond to any messages that are mean or in any way make me feel uncomfortable. It is not my fault if I get a message like that. If I do I will tell my parents right away so that they can contact the service provider. 5. I will never send a person my picture or anything else without first checking with my parents. 4. I will never agree to get together with someone I "meet" online without first checking with my parents. If my parents agree to the meeting, I will be sure that it is in a public place and bring my mother or father along. 3. I will tell my parents right away if I come across any information that makes me feel uncomfortable. 2. I will not give out personal information such as my address, telephone number, parents’ work address/telephone number, or the name and location of my school without my parents’ permission 1.
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