Screen time creates risk for kids

Gone are the days when school bathroom walls were the only place words of hurt lived...

Gone are the days when school bathroom walls were the only place words of hurt lived. Kids were safe not only from bullying, at home, but from the harm of predators.

Now, bullying is everywhere and it’s 24/7. And the predators don’t even have to leave their homes.

Words of hurt are thoughtlessly posted online for the world to see, pictures are posted, friendships are made, and broken, in a simple click.

Keeping students safe online is a major concern within the Vernon School District, which recently brought social media expert Jesse Miller to town to discuss the subject.

Miller, of Mediated Reality, shared insight into the online dangers that kids don’t even realize they are getting themselves into.

“There’s more dangers online than there is in a community park,” said Miller.

“They (predators) are more susceptible to being caught or highlighted in that park compared to the Internet where they can just kind of hide behind the guise of a profile.”

And it’s not just the connection with strangers that is concerning. The Internet has a never-ending potential for emotional harm to youth.

But that is where parents and educators can step in to ensure kids are aware of these dangers, and are also aware of their own social responsibility online.

“We’ve given kids a tool that allows them to connect with the entire world and expected them to have this understanding,” said Miller.

“But we haven’t factored into the fact that they are children who make childish mistakes.”

Therefore parents are urged to alert their kids to the dangers of online predators and ‘friends.’

“If you don’t know who that follower is, why is it OK on the internet but not in real life?” said Miller of how we would not let a stranger follow us home.

There are also major concerns about the fact that what goes online, never goes away. There’s even ways to permanently preserve Snapchat photos.

“When it comes down to the Internet, some of the things that we say and do we just put them out there but we don’t really know where it goes,” he said.

For example, valuable information can easily be accessed such as particular types of photos shared, where they live, bathroom shots and kids sharing pictures of their new driver’s license.

“One of the biggest trends we see with B.C. youth  when it comes down to documenting something of a personal nature on Instagram is they take pictures of their brand new driver’s license and they put that on the internet,” said Miller.

That picture, which includes a home address, date of birth and physical features can then be accessed by strangers.

“When we have 18-year-olds complain that they can’t get loans because they’ve already had credit fraud.

“It’s most likely because they gave their information away when they were 16, somebody just waited patiently for two years.”

Miller offers several suggestions, such as having your kids read their text messages out loud, ensuring no phones or tablets are allowed at the table, and simply not using technology to pacify your kids.

“You can’t teach your kid how to swim in the pool by standing on the sidelines. You need to be in there with them coaching them along.”

 

Just Posted

First pot shop, more development coming to Lumby

Village growth includes bike park, plans for senior housing, hotel renos

Students call for climate change in the Okanagan and far beyond

Students from the Okanagan and around the world walked out of class in a call for climate action

Vernon Curling Club to kick off star-studded season

Talent, expertise and world champions will shine on local sheets

Shuswap elementary school suspends operations due to ‘musty odour’

Arrangements made for affected Sicamous students to attend class in three other schools

No injuries at car crash in front of Butcher Boys

It’s at least the second vehicle accident this September at the intersection

PHOTOS: Young protesters in B.C. and beyond demand climate change action

Many demonstaers were kids and teens who skipped school to take part

Walmart to quit selling e-cigarettes amid vaping backlash

U.S.’s largest retailer points to ‘growing’ complications in federal, state and local regulations

Climate protesters temporarily shut down road in downtown Kelowna

Protesters are demanding politicans take action to stop climate change

Security footage shows grab and go of cash in South Okanagan business break-in

Marla Black is asking for the public’s help in identifying the man who broke into Winemaster

Vehicle taken by gunpoint in South Okanagan carjacking recovered

Penticton RCMP said the criminal investigation remains very active and ongoing

Former B.C. lifeguard gets house arrest for possession of child porn

Cees Vanderniet of Grand Forks will serve six months of house arrest, then two years’ probation

Crown alleges resentment of ex-wife drove Oak Bay father to kill his daughters

Patrick Weir alleged in his closing arguments that Andrew Berry is responsible for the deaths of his daughters

How to react to Trudeau’s racist photos? With humility, B.C. prof says

‘We are now treating racism as a crime that you cannot recover from’

‘I’d do it again,’ says B.C. man who swam naked, drunk in Toronto shark tank

David Weaver, of Nelson, was drunk when he went to Ripley’s Aquarium in Toronto on Oct. 12 2018

Most Read