National Program Helps Parents Understand and Engage in Their Kids' Online Activities

Ottawa, November 23, 2006 – Media Awareness Network and the Canadian Home and School Federation today announced a partnership to present a national school-based Internet literacy and safety program designed to help parents deal with their children’s online activities. The program, Parenting the Net Generation, addresses issues that arise when young people go online and provides tools and solutions to help parents positively manage Internet use in the home.

Through this partnership, which was made possible with the support of Bell Canada, Parenting the Net Generation workshops are available to parent councils in every province until July 31, 2007.

“We are very proud of the leadership role that the provincial home and school associations are playing in helping parents become more Internet literate,” said Georgina Allen, President of the Canadian Home and School Federation. “We invite parents to come out to these workshops and discover the practical parenting tips that Media Awareness Network has developed to help them understand what their children are doing online and develop a proactive approach to managing the Internet at home.”

“Kids have now completely integrated the Internet into their daily lives,” said Cathy Wing, Acting Director of Education at Media Awareness Network. “This workshop will help educate parents who are feeling ill-equipped to guide their children’s online activities. Kids are generally more adept than adults when it comes to using the Internet and other technologies; this program provides easy and practical ways for parents to become active in their kids online lives.”

Research conducted by the Media Awareness Network in 2005, found that:

  • ninety-four per cent of kids go online from home, most through a high-speed connection;
  • almost one-third of the 50 favourite Web sites listed by kids incorporate material that is violent (28 percent) or highly sexualized (32 per cent);
  • rules about specific Internet activities make a considerable difference, especially for younger children. And while rules are less effective with older students, they still have an impact.

The one hour Parenting the Net Generation workshop addresses a number of issues including:

  • Internet safety, including cyber bullying, the use of social networking sites and exposure to inappropriate material;
  • privacy issues and disclosure of personal information;
  • marketing and how companies build brand loyalty on the Web;
  • credibility of online information

Parents are also provided with statistical information on how kids use various Internet technologies, including: instant messaging, chat rooms, Webcams, online games and social networking sites. Workshop participants will be better equipped to help their children develop the critical thinking skills they need to make safe, wise and responsible online decisions.

The workshops will be presented by home and school associations across the country leading up to and during Canada’s first ever National Media Education Week, taking place on November 19-24, 2006. For a list of upcoming Parenting the Net Generation workshops, visit the National Media Education Week Web site at: http://www.mediaeducationweek.ca/en/involved_events.htm.

For information about attending or organising a workshop, contact provincial representatives of the Canadian Home and School Federation listed at: http://canadianhomeandschool.com/.

For more information about Parenting the Net Generation, contact Media Awareness Network at: licensing@media-awareness.ca.

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About Media Awareness Network

MNet is a non-profit Canadian organization whose mission is to support and encourage media and Internet education, and its widest possible integration into Canadian schools, homes and communities. Its aim is to help children and youth to develop an informed and critical understanding of the nature of the media, the techniques used in creating media products and the media’s role and influence within society. MNet is sustained by the generous support of its sponsors and partners, who include: Bell Canada • CHUM Television • Microsoft Canada • Rogers Yahoo! Hi-Speed Internet • TELUS • CTV Inc. • Canadian Recording Industry Association • National Film Board of Canada • AOL Canada Inc.

About the Canadian Home and School Federation

The Canadian Home and School Federation is the national voice of parents and promotes excellence in public education as well as the social well being of children and youth.

For more information contact:

Julien Lavoie, Director of Communications – Media Awareness Network. (613) 224-7721.

Donna Norris, Canadian Home and School Federation. (613) 798-2837.