Back to school is generally synonymous with new resolutions, new devices and new TV series to help you get over the sadness associated with saying sayonara to a too-short summer. This year, while the web is increasingly playing host to inequality and harassment in all its forms, TVA is about to release Le Jeu, a brand-new series that Videotron is proud to sponsor.
A while back, Canadian Anita Sarkeesian spoke out against stereotyping female characters in video games through her Tropes vs. Women in Video Games YouTube series. Le Jeu is more or less in the same vein regarding sexism, but in the form of a ten-part thriller, each an hour long, starring Québec actors (and former couple) Laurence Leboeuf and Éric Bruneau.
The storyline is both grim and engrossing, touching upon today’s hot button issues like chauvinism in the gaming world, #GamerGate (see glossary below) and cyberbullying. Beyond video games, the series highlights a very real problem: a resurgence in using the web for harm, and children are often easy targets.
With more content than ever and showing no signs of slowing down, the Internet can quickly become a headache for any parent wanting to keep their children safe from the dangers of the virtual world. That said, there are a lot of tools out there to help, they’re pretty easy to use and they can really limit the damage.
There are tons of resources online, but here’s a (truly) non-exhaustive list of very basic advice to help keep your kids safe online—so you can sweat just a little less.
1— Get knowledgeable on social media and other popular platforms—learn them inside and out. Familiar with Facebook and Instagram? There are at least ten others out there. YouTube, Snapchat and Twitch are very popular with kids, too.
2— If you have a family computer at home, it’s best if your child uses it outside their room, in a common area like the living room or kitchen. That way, you can get a better handle on what they’re doing online and teach them how to use the Internet safely.
3— If you don’t want your kids going on social media or playing Fortnite before doing their homework, it’s up to you to limit screen time.
4— Dialogue is important. Take the time to teach your children the possible dangers of the web and social media. Instruct them on how to use the Internet in a way that they can avoid running into trouble, i.e. never giving away their personal information online. Tell them about your own experiences online. Encourage them to come to you when they feel uncomfortable or threatened on social media.
5— Download and install parental control software like Videotron's. Every now and again, set aside five minutes to make sure that they’re active and properly configured for all the platforms and devices your kids are using. While you’re at it, take a look at the browsing history.
6— You’re the boss. If your kids refuse to follow the rules you set out to protect them, let them know that you reserve the right to delete their accounts. If the young ones aren’t willing to comply, you can contact the relevant sites to request that they delete the accounts for you.
7— Finally, and we hope you never have to deal with this, but it’s wise to keep records of cyberstalking or cyberbullying via text message, email and social media.
Feel free to add to this list with your own research and adapt it to your children, but remember that open dialogue and trust are your biggest assets when it comes to protecting your kids.
Helpful glossary for informed parents
Troll: Online, a troll is someone who gets involved in a controversial subject, i.e. on a forum, to provoke strong reactions and set off endless debates. Trolls often take on the same subjects that systematically generate the same kinds of reactions.
Cyberbullying: Cyberbullying consists of using communications technologies, like the Internet, social networking sites, websites, email, text messaging and instant messages to bully or harass someone repeatedly.
GamerGate: Rising to prominence in August 2014, this controversy centred on the rampant sexism in the very male world of gaming, games journalism and the community at large, not to mention the industry.