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This tutorial aims to teach students essential digital literacy skills through simulating their favourite online experiences. The tutorial is divided into four chapters, each of which focuses on a particular aspect of digital literacy: researching and authenticating online information, managing privacy and reputation, dealing with online relationships and using digital media in an ethical manner.
The problem with numbers
Since 2002 (when the Canadian Criminal Code was amended to make contacting children online for sexual exploitation illegal), there has been a significant increase in reported cases. This is certainly cause for concern, but the truth is it’s difficult to tell whether this is due to an increase in the number of incidents, an increase in the number of cases that are reported, or a reflection of increasing numbers of young people going online.
Typically, sexting occurs in three contexts: in lieu of sexual activity for younger adolescents who are not yet physically sexually active; to show interest in someone a teen would like to date; and, for sexually active youth, as proof of trust and intimacy. Exchanging sexual images may also be part of “truth or dare” game-playing among younger adolescents or goofing around while mimicking “sexy” media images.
It’s important to understand the real risks young people face on the Internet, especially in regards to sexual exploitation. Who is at risk of sexual harm and why? What activities are markers for higher risk and how can we protect those youth who are most vulnerable. This section explores these topics.
Talk to young people about healthy relationships and the importance of not feeling pressured into doing things they don’t want to do – such as taking explicit pictures of themselves.
In fact, many teens feel safer and more confident flirting online than face-to-face. While these are developmentally normal behaviours for adolescents, conducting them in the globally connected, anonymous environment of the Internet poses special risks.