Winnipeg, MB: A new online safety campaign launched by the Canadian Centre for Child Protection (C3P) and supported with provincial funding is urging families to talk with their tweens and teens about the risks of online activities such as live streaming, online gaming and live chatting, Families Minister Heather Stefanson announced today.
“With more young people spending time online than ever before during the COVID-19 pandemic, digital safety is more important than ever,” said Stefanson. “It is important for parents to have the information and tools they need about online safety so they can have important conversations with their children about staying safe online. We are proud to partner with the Canadian Centre for Child Protection on this campaign, which highlights the importance of checking in with your kids regularly, setting limits, and knowing how to identify potential dangers.”
C3P’s Cybertip.ca tipline has seen more than an 80 per cent increase in online child exploitation reports in recent months.
The new campaign, which launches this week and runs until late fall, focuses on parents and caregivers of tweens aged eight to 12 who use live-stream apps, gaming platforms and live chat features. It includes television, print, digital and social media tools, with additional information and resources available at protectkidsonline.ca, a website which provides tips on what parents can do to keep kids safe online, along with age-appropriate points to talk about with tweens and teens.
Free online safety lessons have also been developed for teachers with students in grades 3 to 8 on how to identify and respond to unsafe situations online.
”It is imperative that we work collectively to raise awareness and mitigate risks surrounding online safety concerns facing tweens and teens,” said Signy Arnason, associate executive director, C3P. “Through Cybertip.ca, we are seeing kids as young as eight years old being targeted by adults through live stream apps, and in the last few years have processed over 300 reports involving child exploitation that originated in an online gaming environment. So it is important for parents and educators to have these online safety conversations at every age in order to keep kids safe.”
The new online safety lessons, which are also available to families for free, can be accessed at protectchildren.ca/order.
The Manitoba government first announced its support for this campaign in early March. It supports the work of the province’s sexual exploitation strategy, Tracia’s Trust, and the findings of the Collaboration and Best Practices to End Sex Trafficking and Sexual Exploitation in Manitoba research report, which was released last year. The need for increased public awareness about sexual exploitation and the risks to Manitoba youth was also highlighted by the Advisory Council of Knowledge Keepers, which provides guidance and the inclusion of experiential voices to the province on these important issues.
C3P is a national charity dedicated to the personal safety of all children. The organization’s goal is to reduce the sexual abuse and exploitation of children through programs, services and resources for Canadian families, educators, child-serving organizations, law enforcement, and other parties. C3P also operates Cybertip.ca, Canada’s national tipline to report child sexual abuse and exploitation on the Internet.
For more information about Tracia’s Trust, visit www.gov.mb.ca/fs/traciastrust/index.html.