Safer Internet

No one is safe
from a simple “click”

What is Safer Internet Day?

This year, the global event Safer Internet Day is held on Tuesday, February 7th. This initiative originates from Europe, and over 150 countries participate worldwide. This year marks its 20th anniversary.

This day perfectly fits in a society deeply rooted in the digital age. Our youth, who are on the Internet from a very young age, often find themselves in questionable situations without even realizing it.

Safer Internet Day is especially dedicated to young people to help them master their digital lives. However, it is important to understand that no one is immune to the risks of a simple “Click,” and once you click, it is often too late.

Follow this link to learn more about this event, which is gaining recognition here and making a difference for the community.

Why does this day resonate with us?

Today, access to high-performance Internet is a given. It is an essential service that allows us to stay in touch with our loved ones, work and study remotely, and entertain ourselves. However, we must be cautious, as the ease of access to the digital world exposes citizens to more online dangers than before, often without them even realizing it.

Our mission at the CTAL is not only to provide the community with access to the digital world and to modernize the region through this access but, above all, to improve the daily lives of our members and their families. We are at the heart of local households, and that is why our involvement in Safer Internet Day is so meaningful.

To raise awareness among young people and those around them, throughout the month of February, we will address topics such as cyber fraud, cyberbullying, sextortion, and more. We also provide a wealth of tools to help you navigate the web safely and recognize early warning signs, such as cyberbullying.


What dangers can my child be exposed to on the Web?

Cyberbullying, cyberharassment, and sextortion are some terms we need to be familiar with.

  • Cyberbullying

Unlike in-person bullying, cyberbullying can occur at any time and anywhere. It can happen repeatedly and spread quickly, making it important to understand and know how to respond to it.

When someone is malicious towards another, threatening, hurting, or humiliating them, they are engaging in cyberbullying. Cyberbullying takes many forms and can occur anywhere.
Although it constantly evolves, the most common form involves insulting someone or making mean comments, most often via text messages or on social media (Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and Twitter), but sometimes also via email, gaming platforms like PlayStation Network and Xbox Live, or on YouTube, WhatsApp, and Discord. This definition comes from :

  • Cyberharassment

Similar to cyberbullying, cyberharassment explicitly incorporates the fear victims feel for their own safety or that of someone they know. These are repeated acts of psychological aggression committed by an individual or a group of individuals, targeting their victims through the Internet, email, instant messaging, or text messaging. This definition comes from :

  • Sextorsion

This is a form of blackmail where the fraudster claims to have photos or videos of the victim showing them nude or engaged in a sexual act. They then threaten to distribute these intimate contents on the Internet or to the victim’s acquaintances if they refuse to send money or more sexual content. The blackmail can be perpetrated by a former romantic partner or by fraudsters. This definition comes from :

There are different types of sextortion:

Fake sextortion (spam);
Sextortion through live chat;
Sextortion via malware (malware);
Sextortion within personal circles.

What resources are available to us?

Fortunately, there is a long list of essential resources available.

Several organizations assist children and their parents, including Marie-Vincent, whose mission is to support young victims of sexual violence by providing, in collaboration with its partners, all the necessary services under one roof. Marie-Vincent also helps children exhibiting problematic sexual behaviors and works to prevent sexual violence by focusing on education and awareness through various programs and training sessions.

Marie-Vincent offers tools for preventing cybersexual violence, including two awareness videos available on their YouTube channel @fondationmv. These videos reveal situations that unfortunately are part of the daily lives of some young people around us, much more often than we might think. Here are the links to watch them:

Closer to home, there is the Alternative Justice Organization in the Laurentians (MAVN), which has a presence right here in the Antoine-Labelle MRC in Mont-Laurier.


Additional resources:

Phishing - what is it?

Fraud is omnipresent on the Web. Less experienced users are much more likely to fall for phishing scams, much to the delight of scammers.

The list of schemes used is long:

  • Credit card fraud;
  • Identity theft;
  • Romance scams, etc.

We need to sharpen our senses to detect scams.

Beware of offers that seem too good to be true, text messages urging you to change your passwords urgently, or incredible prizes won in various contests. Let’s remember that fraudulent phone calls, sometimes more challenging to handle, are also among the methods used by scammers.

We need to take the time to analyze the messages we receive and question them. We must warn our loved ones about the consequences of disclosing certain personal information or following suspicious links.

Romance phishing? Beware!

Be aware that romance fraud is very real, and the number of victims is increasing significantly. This is especially true among older adults who are more vulnerable and less familiar with the digital world and the internet in general.

Isolation and lack of companionship are often the two elements that lead to lowered vigilance. Many individuals seeking solace online encounter princes and princesses who are far from charming, preferring to empty bank accounts rather than win hearts.

How to protect yourself?

Have you received an unsolicited email from an organization (even if it appears to be from your bank or credit union) or from someone you know? Do not click on any links or open any attachments!

If you have doubts about the authenticity of an email communication, contact the organization or person directly using contact information you know to be genuine. Never provide personal information or login credentials over the phone or in an email. If you’re unsure about the legitimacy of a call, hang up and independently verify by calling the organization back using a number you find on their official website or official correspondence.

Various methods are used to steal your personal information and login credentials, which can be used to access your money, impersonate you, contact your loved ones or children, and even distribute malware. These attacks pose a serious threat, and it’s crucial to be aware that they exist.

Here are some links that can be very useful for you and those in your circle to achieve safer digital usage.

he website provides information and assistance if you are a victim of fraud. Several services are available:

Reporting Form: You can submit information related to a fraud you have experienced or witnessed. Your report will be available on the platform for the community’s benefit, and you can stay updated on newly identified frauds.

Personalized Assistance: Free assistance is offered if you need help from one of our cyber-prevention analysts. They provide professional, comprehensive, and specialized support. The form is available in French and English.

Articles, Technical Sheets, Resources, and Tools: A wealth of articles, technical sheets, resources, and tools are available on the Cyber Criminology Clinic website. These resources help you better understand how frauds work and identify techniques used by cybercriminals to better protect yourself.

“Pensez Cybersécurité” is a national public awareness campaign designed to educate Canadians about online security and inform them about steps to protect themselves online. It explains how to secure your accounts, devices, and connections.

Additional resources

The importance of communication with our loved ones

It’s not new, we know it, communication plays an important role in protecting both the young and the old. More and more speakers are visiting schools and showing our children the real dangers of the Web.

Both young people and adults often think it only happens to others and let their guard down against threats looming on the other side of the screen. Have you ever kept a new acquaintance secret at the newcomer’s request?

How to recognize the signs?

The pace of our daily lives sometimes comes between us and our loved ones—our children, parents, friends.

Simply taking a moment to call, send a text, or just ask “How are you?” is already a good start.

The response we receive from these individuals should be listened to carefully because it’s at that moment we can detect if there’s a problem hidden there. Signs don’t lie. If you notice more irritability, loss of appetite, or isolation from one of your loved ones, reach out and ask questions, be attentive.

Most people affected don’t dare to talk about it and live under constant threats from their virtual aggressor without even knowing who they are dealing with. Is your child, teen, or even your parent worrying you?

Resources are available if you feel unable to support someone in distress. But most importantly, act before it’s too late.

Here are some resources that we recommend :

Additional resources