As the school year comes to a close, it is likely that children and youth will be spending more time online. Although the Internet provides many benefits (including the opportunity to access learning material and games), many dangers remain for children. Such dangers include: cyber-bulling, Internet porn, online predators, identity theft, scams, and hatred.
Since much of their time spent online is unsupervised, it is important for parents and educators to teach youth to be media aware. Media awareness, otherwise known as media literacy is an essential component that allows individuals to interpret and make informed decisions as users of information and media. Living in a digital society, even children and youth need to be able to use, understand, inquire, create, communicate and think critically about media.
Under ‘Information for Parents’ the Ottawa Public Library also recognizes the need for media safety and states, “Every child who registers for Bopl’s Book Club must first listen to Bopl’s web safety talk. We have taken children’s safety very seriously in designing this website”. OPL ensures that all comments are reviewed by staff before put on the site, and encourages parents to visit the Media Awareness Network.
The OPL has many books, videos and other resources to increase your media awareness, including:
Totally Wired: What Teens and Tweens are Really Doing Online
E-Parenting: Keeping Up With Your Tech-Savvy Kids
Media Awareness Network
Resources and support for everyone interested in media and information literacy for young people.
- Check out: ‘Knowing What’s What and What’s Not- The 5 W’s (and 1 H) of cyberspace’. Best used to identify credible online sources.
- For librarians, I would suggest checking out ‘Web Awareness for Librarians’ which discusses how to ensure that young people are using the Internet in a ‘safe and savvy way’.
Be Web Aware
A Canadian education program to help children go online safely. Includes information for parents to manage Internet use.