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Online Safety

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In today's tech-savvy world, criminals can make their way into your life without ever leaving the comfort of home. Incidents of online bullying and cybercrime are on the rise across the country and everyone needs to educate themselves in order to safeguard against cybercrimes.


Cyberbullying involves using technology to hurt or intimidate others, their reputation or their relationships. Reports of teenage suicide due to online bullying are shocking and York Regional Police is committed to raising awareness and opening the lines of communication to ensure our citizens feel safe.

The Internet is a public space, which enables us to connect with others in a positive way, but can also open the door to being a victim. Since the Internet is anonymous, many victims of cyberbullying may not even know who their bully is. That's what makes cyberbullying hard to stop. What most people don't realize is that some forms of cyberbullying are actually considered a crime.There are many ways someone can cyberbully:

  • Sending cruel or threatening emails, texts or instant messages to someone
  • Posting private or embarrassing photos
  • Creating a website or blog to make fun of someone
  • Making up fake accounts on social networking sites to ridicule others
  • Using someone's password to hack into their email or social media site
  • Rating people in online polls
  • Spreading secrets or rumours about others
  • Harassing other players in online video games - this is also referred to as flaming

What can you do?

STOP - Do not respond to the behaviour

SAVE - Don't delete the message. It's important to keep a record of what's happening. Take a screenshot and save the message to your hard drive

BLOCK - Block the sender's phone number or email address. If you don't know how, contact your cellphone company and/or Internet service provider 

TELL - It's important you tell someone you trust about what's happening. If you are being threatened, call the police

Here are some simple things you can do to reduce your chances of being bullied online:

  • Keep your passwords private, even from your friends
  • Don't share personal information with strangers, including your name, the names of friends and family, your address, phone number or school
  • Be careful about who you share your photos with online
  • Remove tags on photos that make you feel uncomfortable
  • Secure your profile information by making sure only friends can see it
  • Trust your gut. Don't answer requests or open messages from strangers

If you or someone you know is being bullied, you can call YRP at 1-866-876-5423 or the Kids Help Phone at 1-800-668-6868 or visit for help.

Additional Internet safety can be found at

More than ever before, people's everyday lives revolve around wireless networks, whether it's through mobile devices or home and work computers. Criminals are always coming up with new ways to access your information and accounts for profit. Technically savvy criminals can access your wireless network (Wi-Fi) in a matter of minutes.

You need to take the time to safeguard yourself and your devices against any possible threats by educating yourself and your family about cyber safety.

Use these quick tips to help safeguard yourself and your family:

  • Have secure settings on your computer. Whether it's for Wi-Fi access, social media sites or email, using strong passwords and using website and software security features will help protect you
  • Learn about what online platforms and social media sites your kids use and familiarize yourself with them
  • Don't let children have computers in their rooms. Keeping the computer in a public space will allow you to monitor their online activity
  • Stress the importance of never sending or sharing inappropriate pictures or messages. This can negatively affect their future when applying to college or university or when looking for employment opportunities. Sending and sharing these kinds of images could potentially be a criminal offence
  • Make sure everyone knows what constitutes inappropriate content and how to deal with it
  • Never give out personal information such as name, address, date of birth, computer passwords, banking information, etc.
  • Don't access bank or credit card accounts when using public Internet access. Hackers can easily gather your information

The key to safeguarding your child's online safety is to encourage an open dialogue and be involved in their online activity. Visit the Get Cyber Safe website for more online safety tips.

 Using Social Media Safely

Social media sites have exploded in the past few years, with everyone from large corporations to individuals utilizing the platforms to communicate.

Sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat have millions of users, and while there is great information to be shared, it also comes with a risk to your financial and personal safety.

Take the time to ensure you are using the security settings recommended by each site.

Twitter is an online social networking site that enables users to send 140-character messages called "tweets".
  • Create a strong password
  • Disable location settings
  • Always use login verifications
  • Avoid phishing attempts by ignoring direct messages from people you don't know. Phishing is a way fraudsters pose as a legitimate company in order to defraud you. Be wary of odd messages from people you do know. It could be a sign their account has been hacked
  • Use anti-spyware products

Visit the Twitter Security and Privacy Settings to ensure your profile is secure.


Facebook is an online social networking site that allows you to share and receive information with people you add as "Friends".

  • Use a strong password
  • Visit your profile from a friend's page and see how much of your information is accessible to them
  • You can also use Facebook settings to view how strangers see your profile. Make sure to limit public access to your page
  • Restrict who can post information about you to their timeline and reviews posts before they appear on your feed
  • Set up a security code to access your account. A number can be emailed to you, that you will need to log in
  • Add privacy settings for specific photos
  • Block people from being able to post to your timeline

Visit Facebook Settings - Security tab to secure your account.


Instagram is a social media site where you can share your life through a series of photographs.

  • Pick a strong password
  • Keep your personal information private. You can also keep your profile picture private if you choose
  • Disable the location services
  • Block people you don't know from viewing your account
  • Approve all pictures you're tagged in

Make sure you have all of your security settings turned on by reviewing Instagram's Security page. 


Tumblr is a microblogging platform and social networking website allowing users to post photos, videos and other content in a short-form blog.

  • Choose a unique password
  • Set up a two-factor authentication system
  • Always look for the green Tumblr Inc. icon in your address bar to ensure you are on the real Tumblr site
  • Make sure to log out, especially if you're using a public computer

Review all the security information on Tumblr to ensure your safety.


Tinder is a location-based mobile app intended for casual dating with more than 10 million active daily users, typically aged 16 to 28.

Tinder is often used by teens and young adults to arrange casual encounters, dates, or simply to browse through pictures of local "matches". It is also used by sex workers to solicit services without the need for advertisement. Always use caution when meeting anyone you've met through social media channels.

  • Tinder users should avoid displaying inappropriate or suggestive pictures
  • Users should never send a message or photo to another user that they would regret posting in public
  • When arranging a date, users should consider bringing a friend, or planning a group event to ensure their own safety
  • Users should never make others on Tinder aware of their exact location

YouTube is an online video-sharing site that allows people to watch and share original videos.

  • Don't post videos that disclose personal information
  • Make sure to give yourself the option to approve all comments
  • Set up a strong password and protect your account data
  • Get permission before posting videos that involve other people

Remember, once something is posted to YouTube, it is out there for everyone to see. Visit YouTube's Safety Centre to ensure your channel is secure. 


Snapchat is a photo messaging application that allows users to take photos, record videos and create messages to send to other people.

  • Just because the pictures delete in 10 seconds, it doesn't mean they're gone. Anyone can capture an image with a screenshot and save it to their device
  • Block unwanted users
  • Edit your privacy settings so only people you know and trust can see your images
  • Don't disclose your location when sending images
  • Only send photos you would be comfortable showing in public

Take some time to read through Snapchat's Privacy Policies before you start sending images.


Skype is used by millions of people everyday for voice and video calling, instant messaging and for low-cost local and international calls.

  • Use a personal firewall
  • Keep your computer updated with the latest security features
  • Strong passwords are your first line of defence
  • Be careful what you post in your profile
  • Set the privacy level you are most comfortable with

Using Skype is a great way to keep in touch with your friends and family, but make sure to visit the Skype security section so you can chat safely.


Kik is a free texting application that lets you connect with your friends, as long as you have a user name.

  • Disable the Suggested Friends Features as it can forward your personal information to people
  • Ensure your profile picture doesn't disclose private information about you, i.e. address, school, etc.
  • Block or ignore people you don't know
  • Don't share your password with anyone

Familiarize yourself with the privacy policies on Kik's site so you know how to secure your account and your inform