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Monitor, not surveillance, more important role of adults in kids’ online lives, says study.

Terry Cutler Digital LockSmith Inc.A nationwide report is calling on parents, teachers and policy makers to monitor more, survey less, young Canadians in meeting the challenges of growing up in the digital age.

The report, based on a one-year study in 2012 and a national survey of interviews with children and teens, parents and teachers was released in January 2015 by MediaSmarts

“When we brought together all of the research from our third phase of the Young Canadians in a Wired World study, the call to action for adults was very clear,” says Jane Tallim, Co-Executive Director, MediaSmarts.

“If we want resilient kids we need to understand what young people’s experiences are online, listen to their concerns, and intervene with their best interests in mind,” said Tallim in a press release.

The report offers recommendations for a wide range of issues young people encounter online, including sexting, excessive Internet use, cyberbullying and privacy risks. It also includes an analysis of students’ top 50 favourite websites and profiles of students’ online activities organized by grade.

According to the report, the way forward is to create an empathetic online culture. Fostering empathy and encouraging students to treat each other with kindness and respect will promote positive online behaviour, reveals the report.

Surveillance, according to the report, can create more risk for youth. Kids understand the safety messages they have been taught, what they now need from adults is involvement and mentorship.

Topics Covered

  • Helping your child stay out of trouble online
  • Avoid cyber bullying
  • Avoiding sexting
  • Not feeling pressured to go along with what others are doing, etc
  • Monitoring not surveillance, is key. Building trust is key.

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