McGuinty Government Protecting Kids From Internet Dangers



    New Software And New Funding To Teach Students About Online Safety

    TORONTO, April 30 /CNW/ - The McGuinty government is taking steps to
better protect kids from online predators with a new "Air Dogs" program and
funding for the Kids' Internet Safety Alliance, Community Safety and
Correctional Services Minister Monte Kwinter and Education Minister Kathleen
Wynne announced today.
    "Ontario is a world leader in providing Internet safety programs in its
schools," Kwinter said while visiting The Divine Infant Catholic School in
Toronto where students were using the second phase of the CYBERCOPS - Air Dogs
Internet safety program. "We're helping kids to stay safe online, by teaching
them about how to avoid the dangers of the Internet."
    The Ontario government provided $1 million to develop the bilingual
software and create the training program for teachers. The software includes
interactive games for Grade 7 and 8 students. These games help protect
children against the dangers of the Internet by dealing with the issues of
cyber-theft, extortion and Internet luring.
    "This software is easy and fun for kids to use, which makes it a powerful
tool for helping kids learn how to use the Internet more safely," said Wynne.
"It's also a good complement to our government's extensive efforts to make
Ontario's schools safer, such as teacher training, bullying-prevention
programs and working with organizations like Kids Help Phone, the Ontario
Physical and Health Education Association and the Kids' Internet Safety
Alliance."
    The McGuinty government is also providing a $250,000 grant to the Kids'
Internet Safety Alliance. The alliance is dedicated to eliminating the online
sexual exploitation of children and youth. It has unique expertise working
with law enforcement, business and youth to advocate, educate and train people
about the possible dangers that can be found on the Internet.
    "We're going to use this funding to develop programs - together with
other partners - that will make kids and their parents or guardians more savvy
while they're online surfing," said Paul Gillespie, vice-chair of the
alliance. "Despite the hard work of our police service in tracking these
criminals we also need to be vigilant. The only way to truly protect our
children online is to arm kids and parents with the knowledge and awareness of
how to keep themselves safe. This support will help us expand our efforts to
reach kids and parents across Ontario."
    The new CYBERCOPS program and the funding for the alliance are just the
latest in a number of initiatives by the McGuinty government to improve safety
for Ontario's youth - both online and in the province's school system.
    Funding for CYBERCOPS came from the Victims' Justice Fund. The government
will distribute the program, created by LiveWires Design, to approximately
3,200 schools and 350 Ontario Provincial Police detachments and municipal
police services. The Ontario Physical and Health Education Association offered
a training package for school board officials and teachers in the use of the
CYBERCOPS program.
    "We're proud to support and fund CYBERCOPS," said Kwinter. "It's an
effective tool to cyber-proof children because it's based on real-life events
that kids can understand."

    
    Disponible en français

                           www.mcscs.jus.gov.on.ca
                              www.edu.gov.on.ca


    Backgrounder
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------

                      TEACHING KIDS ABOUT ONLINE SAFETY
    

    Cyber-Proofing Ontario's Children

    The province has purchased a licence to use the CYBERCOPS software
developed by LiveWires Designs Ltd. Officers in the Ontario Provincial
Police's Investigation Bureau took an active part in developing the software's
content. The Ontario Physical and Health Education Association created a
teacher resource package and training materials to assist Ontario teachers to
integrate this material into the curriculum.
    The association is a provincial non-profit organization, dedicated to
supporting school communities through advocacy, quality programs and services
and partnership building. It is well respected in the education sector for its
high quality work and programming to support the Ontario health and physical
education curriculum. Personal safety is a key element of that curriculum.
    The interactive CYBERCOPS software is being used in classrooms for Grade
7 and 8 students and by police services across the province. In schools,
students working in groups will play the interactive computer games included
in the software under the supervision of a teacher. Teachers will receive
training in how to best use the software to educate children on the lessons of
the games and the dangers of the Internet.
    Teachers began using the CYBERCOPS software called Mirror Image in 2006,
to educate students and help them recognize techniques used by criminals on
the Internet. The second phase of CYBERCOPS - Air Dogs - is currently being
rolled out.
    Air Dogs is based upon real-life events and is focused on themes of
cyber-theft, extortion and bullying.

    Kids' Internet Safety Alliance

    The McGuinty government has also provided $250,000 to the Kids' Internet
Safety Alliance (KINSA) towards protecting children in Ontario.
    KINSA was incorporated in 2005 as an aggressive and proactive response to
the negative aspects of the Internet that harm young people. KINSA is
dedicated to eliminating the online sexual exploitation of children and
youths. It has unique expertise working with law enforcement, businesses and
youths to advocate, educate and train people about the possible dangers that
can be found on the Internet.

    
    Contacts:
    Anthony Brown                                           Patricia MacNeil
    Ministry of Community Safety                       Ministry of Education
    and Correctional Services                          Communications Branch
    Communications Branch                                       416-325-2676
    416-314-7772            Public Inquiries: 416-325-2929 or 1-800-387-5514
                                                         TTY: 1-800-263-2892

    Disponible en français

                           www.mcscs.jus.gov.on.ca
                              www.edu.gov.on.ca


    Backgrounder
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------

                   HELPING TO MAKE ONTARIO'S CHILDREN SAFER

    The provincial government is taking steps to ensure that Ontario's
children are better protected in their schools and online against child
pornographers and predators on the Internet through a variety of initiatives
that include:

    -  Implementing a $28.7-million strategy to make Ontario's schools safer
    -  Putting new Internet safety software in the school system to help
       cyber-proof Ontario's children
    -  Providing funding to support the work of the Kids' Internet Safety
       Alliance
    -  Adding to the Ontario Provincial Police's capacity to fight Internet
       crimes against children
    -  Strengthening investigations and prosecutions
    -  Developing a provincewide policing strategy.

    The McGuinty government has also taken other measures to protect young
Ontarians against child pornography and Internet luring:

    -  In June 2004, the government announced an extra $1 million in annual
       funding for the Ontario Provincial Police's Project P. The additional
       funding means more detectives, technology and specialized training for
       the Child Pornography section
    -  The government is working closely with the Ontario Provincial Police
       and the Ontario Association of Chiefs of Police to develop an
       operational policing strategy to fight Internet crimes against
       children. The strategy was implemented in 2006 with funding of up to
       $5 million to ensure that all communities in Ontario have the
       resources to protect children, no matter where they live in the
       province.

    Safe Schols Strategy

    The government's current $28.7-million investment to make schools safer
includes:

    -  $3 million for a three-year partnership with Kids Help Phone to
       provide more resources for bullying and cyber-bullying prevention
       support
       $6 million for model projects to promote positive behaviour
    -  $7.8 million for bullying-prevention programs and resources for
       schools and boards
    -  $4.5 million for bullying-prevention training for up to 25,000
       teachers
    -  $1.2 million for bullying-prevention training for approximately 7,500
       principals and vice-principals
    -  $3.2 million for security access devices for schools as part of a Safe
       Welcome program to help staff better monitor school visitors and limit
       points of access into schools
    -  $3 million through the Ontario Educational Services Corporation
       Special Circumstances Bullying and Violence Prevention Fund for
       schools facing additional challenges.
    

    Strengthening Investigations and Prosecutions

    The Attorney General's Task Force on Internet Crimes Against Kids was
formed in June 2004. The task force is made up of Crown prosecutors and police
representatives who work on child pornography and Internet luring cases. The
task force is also represented at the Ontario Victim Services Secretariat.
    The task force is developing policies, tools, training and best practices
to improve the way child pornographers and Internet predators are investigated
and prosecuted. The task force works in collaboration with Internet service
providers, other police agencies and Crown prosecutors.

    
    Contacts:
    Anthony Brown                                           Patricia MacNeil
    Ministry of Community Safety                       Ministry of Education
    and Correctional Services                          Communications Branch
    Communications Branch                                       416-325-2676
    416-314-7772            Public Inquiries: 416-325-2929 or 1-800-387-5514
                                                         TTY: 1-800-263-2892

    Disponible en français

                           www.mcscs.jus.gov.on.ca
                              www.edu.gov.on.ca
    





For further information:

For further information: Annette Phillips, Ministry of Community Safety
and Correctional Services, Minister's Office, (416) 326-8265/(647) 205-6598
(cellular); Anthony Brown, Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional
Services, Communications Branch, (416) 314-7772; Michelle Despault, Ministry
of Education, Minister's Office, (416) 212-3747; Patricia MacNeil, Ministry of
Education, Communications Branch, (416) 325-2676; Public Inquiries: (416)
325-2929 or 1-800-387-5514, TTY: 1-800-263-2892

Organization Profile

Ontario Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services

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Ontario Ministry of Education

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