Most kids live as much of their lives online as they do offline. But on the Internet there are lots of moral and ethical choices that don’t have to be made offline. These tips lay out ways you can help your children develop a moral compass to guide them through those choices.
One of the most common ethical decisions kids face online relates to how they access and use content like music, games and videos. We can help kids make better choices by teaching them about the issue: in one study, one-quarter of young people said that they would stop accessing content illegally if it was more clear what was legal and what wasn’t.
The Internet has revolutionized how young people watch movies: half of Canadian teens say that they download movies without paying for them at least once a week. 
We don’t always hear the clock ticking when we’re online and young people are no exception. Between doing research for homework, talking with friends, updating social networking pages and playing games, it’s easy to see how kids and teens might lose track of time. Excessive Internet use, however, can negatively affect young people’s school work, health and social lives. Unfortunately, adults don’t usually discover this problem until it’s become serious.
Intellectual property - Anything that comes into being through invention or artistic creation. When an intellectual property is also real property, it is possible to own one but not the other – so that owning a painting (real property right) does not automatically give you the right to make copies of it (intellectual property right).
What is intellectual property?: A novel? A film script? A joke? A cook book? A character in a TV show? A painting? The lyrics to a song? All of these are intellectual property.
In Canada, consumers have certain rights to use copyrighted material without permission or license from the owner of the copyright. These rights are defined in the Copyright Act as Fair Dealing exemptions and were redefined in the 2012 changes to the Act. A good knowledge of Fair Dealing can be extremely helpful in understanding what you and your students can do with media in class. It’s important to note that the Copyright Act provides very little definition for many of these terms; instead, most of the specifics of Fair Dealing have come from court rulings, and the new exemptions and other changes done in 2012 will likely also be further defined in the same way.
It’s tempting for parents to act authoritatively and lay down the law on the number of hours their kids can spend on the computer. But in order to effectively address excessive use, there needs to be an active, voluntary commitment on the part of the young person to control their behaviour. Otherwise, kids will just find ways to work around their parents – and be left to their own devices once they’re old enough to leave the house.
Media and communications technology play an important role in a student’s health and physical education, for better or for worse. The new Ontario Health and Physical Education curriculum provides a spring board to start discussions related to health and media literacy.