MediaSmarts has partnered with the Canadian Internet Registration Authority (CIRA) to develop the Online Commerce Cyber Security Consumer Tip Sheet – the fourth in a series of tip sheets on cyber security issues.
Someone encountering the Internet for the first time might be forgiven for assuming it was created specifically for teenagers. Indeed, the Internet could reasonably be said to have been aging backwards since its birth – the domain first of scientists and the military, then of university students in the 1990s and now children and teenagers.
If anyone still doubts that youth need to learn how to evaluate online information, those doubts should have been dispelled by a recent hoax perpetrated by the group called the Yes Men. This group, which has a history of staging fake press conferences, decided to draw attention to Canada’s position at the Copenhagen conference on climate change by creating a number of fake Web sites purporting to be, among others, the Copenhagen summit site, the Wall Street Journal, and Environment Canada’s site. While it didn’t take long for Environment Canada to make a statement exposing the hoax, by that time many journalists had reported the story as fact and the story had been widely distributed by wire services.
“A lie can travel halfway around the world while the truth is still putting on its shoes.”
We generally think of our kids’ online and offline lives as being two separate things. In reality, they constantly overlap, flowing back and forth face-to-face in the schoolyard and through texts and social networks at home. But on the Internet there are lots of moral and ethical choices that don’t have to be made offline.
At the end of the day very little that can be done to prevent kids from encountering online advertising. The best approach is to teach them, from an early age, the purpose of advergames, branded characters and commercial websites.
In this section, we examine some concerns related to online marketing.
There is little doubt that marketers love kids. With a collective spending power of over three billion dollars, and the potential to influence billions more in family spending,  marketers are keen to establish brand recognition and brand loyalty with children at increasingly younger ages.
There are two main strategies for addressing online hate and cultures of hatred in the classroom: teaching youth to recognize and deconstruct it, and empowering them to intervene by answering back to it.
Young Canadians today are growing up in a culture where gambling is legal, easily accessible – especially online – and generally presented as harmless entertainment.