The Internet provides marketers with many opportunities to elicit personal information from children. Kids love playing on the Web, and commercial sites for children are continually ranked as top online destinations.
Many preschoolers are already active computer users. According to a 2012 Ofcom report, one-third of children ages 3-4 access the Internet using a computer, while a 2011 survey by Common Sense Media found that roughly the same number have used mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets. While children at this age have a limited attention span for online activities, Internet images and sounds can stimulate their imaginations and add to their experiences.
For most youth, the Internet is all about socializing and while most of these social interactions are positive, increasing numbers of kids are using the technology to intimidate and harass others – a phenomenon known as cyberbullying.
Did you know? Two-thirds of Canadian students have helped someone who was being picked on online.
When you see or hear bad things happening online, you have a lot of power to make things better – or worse. Sometimes it’s hard to know the right thing to do, so ask yourself these questions:
Minimize screen use, especially for the youngest children:
It is natural for adolescents to be curious about sex: MediaSmarts’ research suggests that one in ten grades 7- 11 students use the Internet to look for information about sexuality. Forty percent of boys look for pornography online, with 28% looking for it daily or weekly. The problem with pornography is that it is an unhealthy response to a healthy concern.