VICTORIA Tuesday, February 6, 2018 8:00 AM

The British Columbia government is asking parents, educators and citizens of all backgrounds to take a moment and reflect on how we can work to create a safer internet for everyone — especially young people.

Tuesday, Feb. 6, 2018, is Safer Internet Day, an awareness campaign celebrated in approximately 130 countries. The event calls on the world’s citizens to share respect online, and work to teach children and youth about using the internet in a safe and responsible way. At any age, a person online from the privacy of their home is also online to the world.

“The internet is a powerful tool that can lift, inspire and enable our young people to achieve great things, but this tool must be used with great respect,” said Jinny Sims, Minister of Citizens’ Services. “Understanding the importance of online safety is something our children need to learn at an early age. We all play a role in ensuring British Columbians, young and old, can enjoy the time they spend online.”

The Office of the Chief Information Officer (OCIO) offers British Columbians numerous resources to help families stay safe while surfing the internet and using connected devices. For tips on social media best practices, links to educational resources and advice on promoting child and youth online safety, visit: http://www.gov.bc.ca/informationsecurityawareness

British Columbians can participate in the global rally to promote a better internet by using the #SID2018 and #SaferInternetDay hashtags on social media.

“It’s crucial for B.C.’s students to be equipped with the knowledge and tools to focus on online safety,” said Rob Fleming, Minister of Education. “We all have a role to play in supporting student safety online.”

For tips on how to recognize and respond to instances of cyber bullying, the B.C. government’s www.erasebullying.ca website contains helpful advice for parents and youth alike.

Quick Facts:

  • Almost a quarter of Grade 4 students in Canada own their own cell phone. An estimated 30% of students in grades 4 to 6 have a Facebook account.
  • An estimated 37% of Canadian students in grades 4 to 11 report being cyberbullied, while 78% of students in grades 7 to 11 have come across racist or sexist content online.
  • Cyberbullying is constantly evolving alongside changes to technology and social media. Cyberbullying has meant kids can now be bullied 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, regardless of where they are.

Learn More:

From cyberbullying to social networking, each year Safer Internet Day aims to raise awareness of emerging online issues: www.saferinternetday.org

The Canadian Centre for Child Protection offers tips on understanding kids’ online interests, and what the risks are: www.protectkidsonline.ca

Canada’s Office of the Privacy Commissioner offers online privacy tips, as well as a graphic novel designed to help youth better understand and navigate online privacy issues: https://www.priv.gc.ca/en/privacy-topics/privacy-and-kids/