Navigating Online Risks
Learn how local gangs use technology including social media to promote gang culture.
Local gang members use technology, such as social media, to demonstrate their gang affiliations and promote gang culture, events and individual reputations of gang members.
Social media is about influencing the attention and interests of other users.
Although little evidence exists to highlight concerns with attempts to recruit youth into a gang with online activity, young people of various ages may see their friends or peers potentially involved in gang activity leading to peaked curiosity, as the lifestyle may be appealing once seen through the filter and safety of social media. Typically, young recruits are initially brought in as “dial-a-dopers.”
Maximize your child's potential for healthy online experiences
When parents and caregivers know more about online risks, they can be better prepared to help their children and youth stay safe online. Creating healthy boundaries and ensuring your child understands your expectations instils trust. Starting the conversations early and keeping an open mind about the benefits of social media and technology will help build trust and minimize the risks.
The most reliable parental oversight tool is when a child views their caregiver as the safest person to talk to about online concerns.
To maximize your child’s potential for healthy online experiences, consider the following best practices provided by Jesse Miller from Mediated Reality.
Things are different with kids and technology
Recognizing that children are growing up in a world without information boundaries, encouraging healthy conversations, and having an open and safe space to discuss any issue young people experience online are the best safety tools that parents and caregivers can offer. If parents provide non-judgmental opportunities for young people to share their experiences with technology, youth will recognize the safest place to find advice begins at home.
Focus on the individual child
Too often we focus on the high profile, traumatic, or headline grabbing issues. Each child will have their own interests and risks - remember to approach the conversation with family values in mind and individual supports for each child in the home. Be the safest place for your child to discuss how they individually use social media and participate in gaming.
Support, learn, and educate
There are many benefits of social media and digital communications. Explore the opportunities on the internet and look for red-flags behaviours in young people. Remember to keep an open mind about digital trends, explore technology and set boundaries together, consider how you model behaviour for your children, and be excited about the technology and interests of your child.