A new pilot program aims to teach teens about the birds and the bees of textual relations so they don’t get stung by sexting.
TextED.ca, a website that launched Thursday, aims to teach adolescent youth the risks of sending nude photos or videos or sexual messages via texts.
A corresponding pilot course in 100 schools across the country, including B.C., will be launched at the beginning of February.
“This is an area that has been neglected,” said Signy Arnason, director of Cybertip.ca, a program of the Canadian Centre for Child Protection.
“This is a substantial issue. You’ve got 100 million text messages being sent out everyday in Canada. The vast majority of those are kids texting.”
The lessons, aimed at children in grades 7 and 8, use interactive comics and games to convey information about safe texting.
Arnason said B.C. classrooms would be involved in the pilot, but did not have specifics.
A spokesman for Surrey’s school district said he didn’t think Surrey schools were taking part, but could not say definitively until Monday.
A spokesman for Vancouver’s school district did not return calls Thursday.
Tips received at cybertip.ca show that children are engaged in acts that “cross over into illegal activity,” Arnason said. Sexual offenders also use the technology to develop relationships with young people.
Arnason said while texting can be fun, parents need to pay attention and teach their children about responsible use.