ALBERTA

Alberta Government Offers Course For Protecting Kids On The Internet

02/05/2013 09:42 EST | Updated 02/05/2013 09:48 EST
Getty Images
A woman views the YouTube video of Amanda Todd on an office monitor in Washington, DC on October 16, 2012. Amanda Todd, 15, was found dead by suicide in a Port Coquitlam home last Wednesday – five weeks after posting the YouTube video outlining the abuse she endured both online and in person. The video has since gone viral and Todd’s story has made international headlines. On Monday, Canada’s Members of Parliament debated a private member’s motion to create a national bullying prevention program. AFP PHOTO/MLADEN ANTONOV (Photo credit should read MLADEN ANTONOV/AFP/Getty Images)

The Alberta government is offering an online course to teach parents about the risks children may face online.

The initiative comes mere months after the death of Amanda Todd, a B.C. teen who was driven to suicide after years of cyber bullying and torment. She shared her story shortly before her death in a YouTube video.

The course, called Internet Savvy, focuses on cyber bullying, social networking, online marketing to children and youth, gaming and sexual exploitation.

“In today’s online society, with constant access to social media, it can be difficult for parents to know how to protect and support their children,” said Dave Hancock, Minister of Human Services, in a release. “Internet Savvy gives parents the tools to keep Alberta’s children safe from online predators.”

Potentially risky behaviours include sharing personal information, emailing or posting photos online, talking online with strangers and visiting adult websites.

According to a 2011 Parents-Teens Internet Safety Report, 74 per cent of teens admitted that most of their peers do thing online they would would not want their parents to know about.

This is not the first initiative from the provincial government to address the issue following Todd's death.

The Alberta government passed a bill in the legislature during the fall sitting aimed at curbing cyber bullying and to take on schoolyard bullies.

The proposed new Education Act would allow principals and trustees to have more authority to address not only the bullying that happens on school grounds, but also bullying that happens online or off school property.

Todd's suicide also sparked an anti-bullying conference in Vancouver, where a bully-reporting website and mobile application were launched.

Following her death, Todd's mother urged parents to make themselves aware of the type of trouble children can get into online.

"We have to teach parents on what's out there and what their kids may possibly be doing, so they can be aware of it," Carol Todd told CBC.

With files from the Canadian Press

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