RNC officer advises parents to talk to their kids about the web
© Diane Crocker
Const. Scott Mosher encourages parents to talk about Internet safety with their children.
CORNER BROOK — The Royal Newfoundland Constabulary has some homework for parents related to their children’s computer and Internet use.
“Be involved and be aware,” said Const. Scott Mosher, media relations officer with the Corner Brook detachment.
Among the things Mosher advises parents do is to set the privacy levels or parental levels on their computers so that they can monitor activity or keep their children from accessing certain sites that may contain sexually explicit information or material.
He also suggests putting the computer in a public area of the house like the kitchen or living room where there is a greater potential of someone walking in and seeing what they are doing or looking at.
To really get involved, Mosher said parents need to know their children’s passwords and usernames so that they can monitor activity on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter and in chatrooms.
“From a technical perspective we’re not asking them to do a whole lot, but from a monitoring perspective we’re asking them to just take a lead role and talk to them about it and talk to them about some of the dangers that are there.”
Mosher said that information for parents goes hand in hand with what’s provided to students in the RNC’s C.I.S. (Computer and Internet Safety) program and is also the focus of the force’s annual community guide. Throughout the year, Mosher will present the computer safety program to Grade 7 students at schools in the city.
He said conducting the sessions is just as educational for him, since he finds the students have a lot of their own observations and experiences that they are able and willing to share. Still, that willingness to share is a cause for concern.
“As we know, the Internet can be a highly unregulated and very under-moderated medium where people can connect and share,” said Mosher.
One message he tries to instill in the students is to limit what they share online and encourages them to not give out addresses, birth dates or even the name of their school.
“The more information you put out there the easier it is for people to find you and find out about you,” he said.
Mosher said kids often don’t have a sense of danger and they need to be reminded that there are dangers out there. He’ll ask them if what they say about themselves online is 100 per cent true, and often finds it’s not.
“Everybody embellishes a little bit, or you try to make yourself look a little better than what you are,” said Mosher. So the thought he leaves with them is if you are doing that then how do you know the person you’re chatting or sharing with is not doing the same.
No matter what is shared, a picture or personal information, Mosher said once something is out online it’s difficult to get that back.
“If it’s something that you don’t want everybody to see, then you shouldn’t put it out there for anybody to see,” he added.
Whenever possible, Mosher said he’ll use local examples to strengthen the messages he’s delivering.
“Things happen in our own school system here and they know it, and they’ve seen it and they’re witness to it.”