Tips for talking to children about digital safety and privacy

Thursday, Feb. 28, 2019

PVNC schools have been receiving calls this week from concerned parents about an online issue referred to as the “Momo Challenge.” Reports about a disturbing social media trend that was targeting children online via popular social media channels began to surface and quickly spread this week.

There is good reason to believe that this “Momo Challenge” is nothing more than an internet hoax, however, the ensuing coverage, spread and discussion of the “challenge” via social media may still cause anxiety and stress.

We encourage parents to take this as an opportunity to have intentional conversations with their children about what they encounter online. These discussions could include:

  • Reminding children to never contact strangers online, on any platform;
  • Encourage children to share any worries or concerns with you;
  • Ensure children understand the importance of not giving personal information to anyone they do not know;
  • Tell children no-one has the right to make them do anything they do not want to do;
  • Set privacy systems on devices with your child as a way to have the conversation about safety.

It is also important for parents to know what children can access online. We have the following suggestions for families:

  • Set privacy settings for all social media and gaming applications;
  • Keep video games and YouTube watching in shared family spaces;
  • Set up video game restrictions to friends only;
  • Set up “restricted” mode on YouTube for your child’s account so inappropriate content is not available to them or stream YouTube content through a family-friendly site such as watchkin.com.
  • Look for digital citizenship safety tips – here’s an example: Online Safety Rules for Kids https://canadasafetycouncil.org/online-safety-rules-kids/
  • Other resources can be found at saferkidsonline.info, prevnet.ca and cybertip.ca

If you have any questions or need support with respect to discussing online safety with your child,  please contact your child’s school office.