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Video games, social media and sexting focus of info sessions for North Okanagan-Shuswap parents

School District 83 to host three-part series aimed at keeping children safe online
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Video games will be the focus of one of three upcoming online sessions, hosted by School District 83, aimed at keeping children safe online. (Contributed photo)

Video games, social media and “sexploitation” are among topics that will be discussed in an upcoming three-part series of online sessions for parents hosted by School District 83.

Led by Scott Rothermel, the school district’s Safer Schools Together trainer and Manager of Safe Schools, the series begins on Feb. 27 with the session, Video Games 101: Risks and Rewards. Rothermel will discuss popular games like Minecraft, Grand Theft Auto V, Call of Duty Warzone and Fortnite, the risks and rewards associated with playing them, and how much time kids should spend playing them.

The second session, Social Media 101: Risks and Rewards, looks at popular apps like Snapchat, TikTok, Discord and Instagram.

The third session delves into Sexting, Sextortion, Sexual Age of Consent.

“Sextortion is a form of extortion or blackmail in which sexual favours or images are demanded in exchange for something, such as not sharing embarrassing or compromising information,” reads an SD3 announcement for the online series. “What is sexting? Sextortion? How does it affect our youth? What is legal and illegal activity? What is the sexual age of consent? Rothermel will answer these questions and more!”

According to Carol-Ann Leidloff, SD83’s Director of Instruction (Equity, Diversity & Inclusion), sextortion is becoming increasingly common among youth – that with the widespread use of smartphones and social media, “it is easier than ever for predators to target and exploit young people.”

“We understand that this can be a difficult and uncomfortable conversation to have with your child, but it’s an important one to have,” said Leidloff.

As a police officer for the past 12 years, Rothermel’s last 10 years have been spent working with youth and in specific youth-related programs.

“We hope these sessions with Scott will not only make parents more aware but also give them some tools and knowledge to have these conversations with their kids,” said Leidloff.

For more information, and to register for the online sessions, visit sd83.bc.ca and click on ‘Helping children stay safe online.’



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