News and Media

NEW WEBSITE WILL HELP TEACH TEENS TO PRACTICE SAFE TEXTING

For Immediate Release
November 19, 2010

Mrs. Laureen Harper encourages parents to become text-savvy

Toronto, ON: As a mom of two young children, Mrs. Laureen Harper knows first-hand the importance of teaching today's youth to be safe and responsible texters. Mrs. Harper was on hand at Toronto's Runnymede Junior and Senior Public School today for the Canadian Centre for Child Protection's national launch of textED.ca - an innovative website designed to help teach children safe texting practices.

"It's amazing to think that we live in a time where our children know more about today's technology than we do," said Mrs. Laureen Harper. "It's so important that we become familiar with the technologies our kids use and the risks they face so we are in the best position to help keep them safe. TextED.ca is a great resource to help familiarize parents with today's texting issues, but more importantly, one their children will enjoy and learn from as well."

Designed for students in Grade 7 and higher, the textED.ca website provides a fun, interactive platform for children to learn about the short-term costs and the long-term ramifications associated with texting. The initiative also includes lesson plans designed to help educators teach youth about safe texting and life skills that will allow them to fully benefit from what is now a very public, technological world. All lessons are tied to provincial curriculum outcomes, making them ideal for use in Canadian classrooms.

"Considering the main form of communication for much of today's generation is through text-messaging, the need for safe-texting education is imperative," said Lianna McDonald, Executive Director of the Canadian Centre for Child Protection. "Texting is having an impact at home and in the classroom, and so there is a shared responsibility to teach our kids how to use this technology safely. Like parents, many teachers are struggling with the issues that arise from this technology. It's a completely new area they didn't have to deal with before. TextEd.ca will help them address texting in a fun, interactive way."

"Law enforcement officers, dedicated to online child sexual exploitation investigations across the country, have never been as well trained and equipped as they are today. Even so, we desperately need parents and young people to be more proactive about their online safety," said Det. Sgt. Kim Scanlan, with the Toronto Police Services Child Exploitation Unit.

"Cell phones - and especially text messaging - have become one of the most important tools for Canadian families to stay connected and keep safe," said Bernard Lord, President & CEO of the Canadian Wireless Telecommunications Association (CWTA). "But while wireless communications provide convenient and immediate contact, it is essential that young people be educated about the appropriate and responsible use of the technology."

In partnership with the CWTA, the Canadian Centre first launched textED.ca as a pilot project in January 2010. Based on feedback received from teachers, students and other educational professionals in the months that followed, the Canadian Centre made numerous improvements and enhancements to the textED.ca lessons and online components. Included in the changes was the creation of an innovative text-based Rock, Paper, Scissors (RPS) game that also provides users with a safe texting tip following the completion of each game. Any potential text message fees associated with playing this game have been waived by Canadian wireless service providers, so the game is free to all Canadian users. Our thanks to: Bell, Fido, Koodo, MTS, SaskTel, Solo, Rogers, TELUS, Vidéotron and Virgin Mobile for waiving fees and for their ongoing support of the Canadian Centre for Child Protection.

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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 (Office)
204-801-2979 (Cell)

Email:
communications@protectchildren.ca

 

BACKGROUNDER: TEXTED.CA

Concerns surrounding children and 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.

Since adolescent behavior is less inhibited with the use of technology, it's important they are aware of the risks and know how to deal with the various situations new technologies present.

textED.ca: a comprehensive in-class and online program that will help educators teach youth about safe texting and life skills that will allow them to fully benefit from what is now a very public, technological world.

While some teachers have introduced safe texting education to their students, the Canadian Centre for Child Protection identified a gap in the delivery of comprehensive text education programming in Canada's schools.

To address this, the Canadian Centre developed the textED.ca program, which consists of an innovative and interactive new website and a series of associated lesson plans for teachers to use with their Grade 7 students. Importantly, all of the lessons are tied to provincial curriculum outcomes, making them ideal for use in classrooms right across the country.

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, and other fun tools to help them navigate through the issues.

In partnership with the Canadian Wireless Telecommunications Association, the Canadian Centre first launched textED.ca as a pilot project in January 2010. In total, more than 350 Grade 7 classes took part in the pilot between January 21, 2010 and April 30, 2010.

During that time, 1292 users signed up on the site and 441 teachers signed up for access to the lesson plans. In conjunction with the feedback received from teachers, students and other educational professionals, the Canadian Centre made numerous improvements and enhancements to the textED.ca lessons and online components.

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BACKGROUNDER: TEXTING STATISTICS

Texting Stats:

  • In Canada, 4.6 billion peer-to-peer text messages were sent in June 2010. This represents a 10% increase over the last reported March 2010 total of 4.2 billion messages.
  • The total number of person-to-person text messages sent during the first six months of 2010 was 25.7 billion, which already represents 73% of the 2009 total of 35.3 billion.
  • In June 2010, Canadians sent an average of 154.1 million messages per day. This is up from the average 135.4 million messages per day in March 2010.

(Source: Canadian Wireless Telecommunications Association, as of October 2010)

 

Teen Texting Stats:

  • The average teen sends 3,339 texts per month. That's more than six texts per waking hour.
  • For teens age 13 to 17, female teens send an average 4,050 texts per month while male teens send an average 2,539 texts per month.
  • These teens are sending eight times more texts than they were this time last year.
  • Other age groups don't come close to this level of texting. The average 18-24-year-old sends only 1,650 texts per month. The average drops further with other age groups.

(Source: The Nielsen Company study released October 2010)

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