#DontBFooled online, police urge West Hill C.I. students

Aim of interactive event at Scarborough high school to keep youth safe in cyberspace

“Pause before you post,” RCMP Const. Jennifer George says. “One click and it’s out there forever.”

It’s a message Bimla Govinda says she heeded after hearing George and others speak Nov. 1 in her school’s auditorium during #DontBFooled, an interactive presentation on the importance of keeping personal information safe online.

“The fact that nothing’s safe online… You need to be careful and trust nothing and no one out (there) in our society,” the Grade 11 West Hill C.I. student said in an interview via Twitter.

In 2009-2010, approximately one in three youths between the ages of 11 and 15 were bullied online at least once, RCMP figures show.

Cyberbullying — including posting mean messages, creating fake profiles and releasing hurtful pictures, among other unwelcome behaviour online — is rarely reported and that needs to change, Toronto police say.

“We want you to make intelligent decisions,” said Det. Sgt. Cameron Field of the financial crimes unit. “We want you to talk to (police) on social media.”

During the event, Bell provided free Wi-Fi and students were encouraged to live tweet using the hashtag #DontBFooled to share their reactions to what was being discussed.

After the event, which coincided with the start of Financial Literacy Month, Field listed some tips designed to help people stay safe online, including refraining from posting date of birth, phone numbers, home address and social insurance number on social media sites.

“Limit the amount of personal information you post online,” Field said. “If you want to (post personal information), then ensure only trusted friends can see it.

“Don’t open suspicious emails and always keep anti-virus software up to date.”