Informed Youth Promote Clarity for All

It’s something we’ve all done before: scrolled past a wall of text to click “I Agree” with no idea what we’ve agreed to. Then, when we’re using the platform, messages like “We’ve made some changes to our Terms and Conditions” simply remind us that we probably didn’t read them in the first place. Our world is becoming more and more influenced by the data that’s being collected about us. For young people in particular, this can lead to serious and unexpected consequences that could affect their entire lives.

Thanks to the internet and social media like Instagram, Snapchat or TikTok, it’s easier than ever to share your views and encourage others to join you in making change. And, due to research conducted as part of the Digital Ecosystem Research Challenge (DERC), we know a lot about how some Canadians are using digital media to get involved in politics. This guide will help show you the ways you can use social networks to make your voice heard and make a difference.

By Samantha McAleese, research associate at MediaSmarts and
David Fowler, vice-president, marketing and communications at CIRA.

What should I do if someone sends me a sext?

So, you’ve received a sext that you didn’t ask for. Now what?

Delete it right away

If someone sends you a sext that you didn’t ask for, delete it. You can also ask the person not to send more if you feel comfortable doing so.

Block the person

On social: If they keep sending you sexts (or other unwanted messages) that you don’t want, you can block them. Most social networks have Block and Mute functions.

As a parent, you may find some relief in learning that fewer youth take and send sexts (nude or semi-nude photos) than you may think. However, almost half of youth who have taken and sent a sext say that the recipient then forwarded that image to other people without their consent. This culture of sharing among youth is a major concern and can have devastating consequences for the person in the picture and the person who forwards it.

There’s no excuse: confronting moral disengagement in sexting

In this lesson, students learn about the “sneaky excuses” that can convince us to do things that we know are wrong. After learning about the different types of these excuses, students watch and discuss a series of videos in which the excuses are used to justify forwarding sexts without the original sender’s consent. Finally, students create their own videos in which the excuses used to justify sharing sexts with other people are illustrated and most importantly, countered.

English

My youngest daughter has a brand new Instagram account, and she’s excited about it. Unlike my older two, she actually does use it to post. Since she doesn’t have a cell phone she uses her tablet at home, so her posts are always things we are doing around the house: artwork or craft projects she’s done, what we’re having for dinner, or the occasional nice outfit she wants to share.

It’s more important than ever to double-check info that you see online—for your own sake and for other people’s. The How to tell fact from fake online guide offers fact-checking tips that will take you a minute or less to do. You’ll be surprised how quickly you can fact-check things once you get the hang of it!

Family Guidelines for New Tech Devices

MediaSmarts’ research has shown that kids with rules in the home about tech use are less likely to do things like post their contact information, visit gambling or pornography sites and talk to strangers online. Having a family agreement or set of rules for using devices is also a great way for parents and kids to work together on how to be safe, wise and responsible online.

The other day I was on the phone with my sister – our land line, not a cell phone – and I said to her, “You’re my person.” This is a well-known phrase from the TV show Grey’s Anatomy; Meredith Grey and Cristina Yang used to say it to each other to cement the closeness of their friendship.

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