Winnipeg, MB: This Safer Internet Day (February 5, 2019) the Canadian Centre for Child Protection (Canadian Centre) is helping families start the conversation about internet safety by highlighting Zoe & Molly Online, an interactive website that lets kids ages eight to 10 explore what it means to be safe while playing games online and the risks associated with sharing their personal information and sending pictures online.
Studies show that 13% (which amounts to roughly 1 in 7) of children aged 10–17 will receive unwanted sexual solicitations onlineGo to footnote 1, and that 26% of children send personal information to unknown people.Go to footnote 2 Zoe & Molly Online, through online comics, an interactive game and quiz, not only gives kids the opportunity to have some fun while increasing safety confidence, but also lets them practice online safety skills that gives them the tools and knowledge in order to respond to unwanted solicitation online and to mitigate risk.
“If kids have a chance to practice applying safe responses to situations that may present risk they are more likely to respond safely if they encounter a similar situation online,” says Noni Classen, Director of Education for the Canadian Centre. Kids need to know if they come across something online that feels weird or causes them to worry to tell a safe adult without fear of getting in trouble.”
Zoe & Molly Online is an engaging experience on its own but becomes all the more powerful when parents and teachers use the website as a springboard for conversations about how to stay safe while playing games online and the risks associated with sharing their personal information and sending pictures online.
“It’s important for parents and educators to have ongoing conversations about online and personal safety with kids. Zoe & Molly Online helps parents and teachers have those critical, on-going discussions in an engaging and age-appropriate way,” states Classen, adding parents of Grade 3 and 4 students can ask their teachers about integrating Zoe & Molly Online in to class curriculum as the website also features tailored lesson plans and presentations for educators.
To check out Zoe & Molly Online, visit zoeandmolly.ca.
- 1 Wolak, J., Mitchell, K., and Finkelhor, D. (2006). “Online victimization of youth: Five years later.” National Center for Missing & Exploited Children Bulletin - #07-06-025. Alexandria, VA. ↩
- 2 Wolak, J., Finkelhor, D., Mitchell, K., & Ybarra, M. (2008). “Online ‘Predators’ and their Victims: Myths, Realities and Implications for Prevention and Treatment.” American Psychologist, 63, 111-128. ↩