Internet & Mobile

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From blogging to file sharing to instant messaging to online commerce, there’s no doubt that youth have embraced digital life – which has opened up new worries for parents and teachers. This section explores some of the issues related to Internet and mobile communications technology.

A blog is a Web page where someone posts entries or thoughts on a specific topic and invites readers to respond by posting comments of their own. Blogs can be personal – like online diaries – or more formal and professional. Anyone can write a blog and there is no shortage of platforms. In fact, some free sites such as will allow you to create a blog in just a few minutes.

According to Project Teen Canada, 54 per cent of teenagers use cell phones daily. For parents, cell phones are an easy and practical way to stay connected to and keep tabs on their kids while giving them independence. But for young people, cell phones are much more than a tool for chatting with mom or dad – they’re an essential part of their social lives.

Along with playing video games, downloading music and movies are among the top online activities for Canadian youth. Using file-sharing or peer-to-peer (P2P) programs, as well as “digital locker” services, kids can search for and then download free music, movies, video games or software – which in most cases are copyright protected.

Schools are fully aware that the Internet is a treasure trove of knowledge and don’t hesitate to recommend it for research. According to a 2008 study, 77 per cent of teachers assign work involving the use of the Internet. Unfortunately, school curriculums rarely include teaching how to do research on the Web, so parents need to learn the skills for guiding their children as they go online for school assignments.

Instant Messaging (IM) is to young people what email is to their parents’ generation: the best way to communicate online (with the advantage that IM conversations take place in real time).

Online gaming has never been so popular. According to an Ipsos Reid survey, more than half of young Canadians say they visit gaming sites and play online games several times a week.

Social networking is one of the most popular online activities in Canada. In fact, according to the Canada Online! study, 40 per cent of all Canadians use a social networking site. Facebook is the most popular of these sites by a long shot, with over seven million active Canadian members.

Online video sharing is a world-wide phenomenon: according to YouTube, 20 hours of videos are uploaded on to the site every minute, and a billion videos are viewed each day. Canadian kids are part of this trend, spending several hours a week on video sharing websites.