@TELUS WISE: Ten Tips for Back-To-School Online Safety

As parents get their kids prepared to head back-to-school, there’s one thing they need that’s more important than any backpack or notebook – it’s the know-how to ensure their children are safe online.

According to Canadian not-for-profit organization and official TELUS WISE partner MediaSmarts, Cyberbullying is on the rise, with one in ten Canadian students experiencing it last year. Studies show that it can have traumatic effects on youth, with links to depression, yet kids underestimate how much it can impact them, shrugging it off as a normal part of their online interactions.

A TELUS survey reveals that 71 per cent of parents purchased their child’s first mobile device before the age of 14 and 5 per cent of parents bought their child a mobile device before the age of eight.

  • Parents say they are buying these devices to protect their children offline. Nearly one-third (31 per cent) say they want to be able to contact their child, while 27 per cent want their child to have a mobile device in case of an emergency.
  • At the same time, parents are worried about their child’s online safety: 64 per cent of parents are concerned about the visibility of personal information, 50 per cent are concerned about privacy and 42 per cent of all parents surveyed reported that cyberbullyingis a top concern when it comes to their child’s safe use of mobile devices

TELUS WISE Tips for Back to SchoolOnline security is becoming increasingly important. From hackers and cyberbullies to predators and phishers, the online world can be a scary place if you’re not armed with the right information. As your kids head back to school, here are some tips from TELUS and TELUS WISE to keep in mind so you and your family can keep yourselves safer online:

  1. Review the permissions before giving permission. Apps and social sites often ask for access to personal information that could put you at risk. Set rules around what info you and your kids will share and with whom.
  1. Keep it private. It is vital to constantly check and adjust privacy settings within apps and social sites to keep up with ever-changing defaults. Looks for app settings that share information publicly and change it to close friends only.
  1. Set-up a 24/7 watchdog for your name. Create a Google alert for yourself and each of your family members to track how your names are being used online and where you’re being mentioned. Find out more on our TELUS WISE site.
  1. Less is more. Limit the amount of potentially sensitive information posted online to lower chances of theft or abuse – think twice before posting last names, age, school names, vacation location or other personal info. 
  2. Keep connections personal. A good rule of thumb is to only connect and share with people that you know in real life. “Friending” people online whom you’ve never met increases your risk of exploitation.
  1. Think before you click. Always read the full path of the URL link you are about to click to make sure it’s going to take you where you want to go.
  1. Don’t be found. Turn off geo-tagging on smartphones and tablets to keep from being tracked. When this feature is enabled, your exact location can be exposed even if you’re just posting a photo. Ensure that apps that rely on location (e.g. Google Maps) are the only ones that have location enabled.
  1. Lock it down. Set passwords that are at least six characters long. Use at least one symbol, number and uppercase letter; for extra security use different passwords for each website or account you use.
  1. Don’t log in and leave it. Always be sure to log out of social accounts and apps when you aren’t using them. Disable or deactivate accounts and apps you no longer use.
  2. Keep your digital household clean.  Set a recurring 3-month calendar appointment to check your online profiles, confirm privacy and permission settings on the social media sites you subscribe to and review any apps that you’ve downloaded.

For more tips to keep you and your family safe online, or to get set up with free online safety education, visit the TELUS.com/WISE or visit a local TELUS store.

Offline, we know that some families across Canada struggle with buying school supplies. TELUS retirees volunteer as TELUS Community Ambassadors across Canada and are fairy godmothers and godfathers in their local communities! They volunteer their time for a variety of causes, but their most impassioned cause is Kits for Kids. They spend the summer stuffing backpacks with supplies to donate to inner-city schools at the beginning of the school year to make sure that every kid starts with the tools they need to thrive. Since 2007, they’ve assembled more than 78,750 backpacks, and this year at handing out more than 10,000 kits across Canada including 1,500 in Ontario.

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Disclosure:  TELUS provided me with the above information.  I have not been financially compensated in any way.  I am not obliged to give a positive review.  Any opinion(s) expressed is my own, and is given freely.  Any information acquired from TELUS’s various social media formats has been authorized, and has been done so as to facilitate my post/review.
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Should you wish to share any questions, suggestions, or comments, please feel free to leave me a comment.  If preferred, email me direct via mybitsandbleeps@gmail.com
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