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Mobile Safety Canadian Center for Child Protection
Know the Risks

Content Risks

Safeguarding your child/adolescent's mobile phone use requires more than just knowing the technology - parents need to educate themselves about the online content that poses the greatest risks to their child/adolescent. What is being said or sent via the Internet can pose an even bigger concern than the technology itself.

Adult Content

Most mobile phones supply access to the Internet along with other services that are intended for adult use. This transportable connection to the online world supplies children with constant access to sites that include adult pornography.

While many parents feel that their child has not been exposed to inappropriate content, the reality is that children as young as 8-9 have viewed sexually explicit material on the Internet. Through the Kids in the Know Student Advisory Groups, the Canadian Centre found that 34% of Grade 4 students have seen inappropriate pictures online.

Inquiring with your carrier about filtering software can help reduce the chances that your child will encounter adult content. Reinforcing that there is content on the Internet that is upsetting even for adults may open the lines of communication in the event that your child does encounters something inappropriate. Encourage your child to tell you or another safe adult about anything received the cell phone that upsets him/her.

Illegal Content

Child pornography images and their circulation are a growing problem on the Internet. In general terms, child pornography is an image, film, video that shows are person under the age of 18 engaged in explicit sexual activity or whose dominant characteristics for a sexual purpose is the sexual organ or anal region of a person under 18 years of age. These images can be shared easily through the Internet, online platforms and portable technology devices.

If you or your child come across what you suspect may be child pornography, report your concerns to Cybertip.ca at www.cybertip.ca/report .


In April 2009, two male students were expelled from a high school after they taped up nude pictures sent from a teenage girl's mobile phone. After the girlfriend and her boyfriend (one of the two expelled students) broke up, the two boys printed off naked pictures that girl had sent and posted them in the boys' locker room.

Youth losing control of photos or videos is a major issue in today's online world. Photos and videos sent from a mobile phone can be easily posted on social networking sites, etc. These photos can be viewed by anyone and easily copied and sent to other people.

It is important to reinforce the public nature of the Internet. What s/he sends to someone can be shared with anyone. To avoid potentially uncomfortable situations, stress the importance of being very careful about what s/he includes in their messages to others and to think about how it could be misused. For more information, download the Respect Yourself activity booklet.

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