September 2021

Online Resource Helps Parents Talk to Kids about Digital Safety Thorn, a technology non-profit dedicated to defending children from online sexual exploitation, launched Thorn for Parents to help parents have earlier, more frequent and judgment-free conversations with kids about digital safety. The need for these conversations is more critical than ever as kids grow up online, which impacts how they experience transformational phases like puberty and what normative sexual exploration looks like. Thorn’s research shows that digital safety conversations need to start much younger than parents might think, between the ages of seven and nine. Thorn for Parents includes resources, discussion guides, and recommended timelines to help parents address these serious issues in an approachable, digestible, and supportive way. “Kids are growing up online and digital safety is a huge issue. Thorn for Parents will guide parents through these essential conversations by offering topics, conversation starters, timelines and more,” said Thorn Co-Founder Ashton Kutcher. “Developmental behaviours coupled with constant connectivity can be dangerous. We have to educate our kids to keep them safe.” Thorn spent the past three years understanding how kids themselves feel about these issues and what motivates their online behaviors. Thorn developed Thorn for Parents after surveying thousands of youth and parents, and identifying several important findings that all caregivers need to know: Kids report being asked for nudes by strangers online as young as nine years old. Many kids are having online sexual interactions with peers and adults at almost the same rates, and 40% of kids ages 13-17 agreed that “it’s normal for people my age to share nudes with each other.” As many as 1 in 5 nine-to-12-year-olds (26% of girls and 27% of boys) report having had an online sexual interaction where they were asked to send nudes of themselves, “go on cam,” sent sexual messages, or had nudes of an adult or other children shared with them. Online interactions have different boundaries for kids. Children are regularly connecting with people they know only online through mutual friends, shared interests and games — and they don’t consider them strangers. Among kids that had shared nudes, research shows that nearly 40% had shared them with someone they had never met offline. Additionally, 25% of kids report they had experienced a sexual interaction online with someone they believed to be an adult, and these numbers are even higher among vulnerable groups like LGBTQ+ at 32%. Shame is the biggest obstacle to seeking help. Kids are hesitant to disclose online sexual interactions with parents or other trusted adults, especially when the experience was someone they thought was an adult. According to Thorn’s research, while

7 Last-Minute Back-to-School Items They'll Need Whether they’re heading back to class or learning online, every teen and tween likes to have some fresh new gear to start off the school year. From lunchtime must-haves to bedtime routines, we have some suggestions sure to make the grade from elementary school kids to college-bound students. All the Licensed Gear If you want to get your kid really excited about back to school, the best place to head is Toys R Us. They have everything you need to start the year off right, from licensed backpacks, water bottles and lunch boxes to fun school supplies. Grab all these items in-store or online. Suck it up If you love drinking from a straw but hate the sog factor of the paper variety, look no further than The Rice Straw. Perfect for eco-conscious parents and students, alike, this straw is actually made from rice, tapioca and organic dyes. It’s 100% natural and chemical-free. It’s completely bio-degradable, but the best part? It retains its structural integrity for up to three hours! Good To Go If your child is always starving after school, keep these Good to Go Soft-Baked Bars on hand. They have a cake-like texture that kids love, but they are also made with organic ingredients. They’re vegan, gluten-free, peanut-free, kosher and non-GMO Project Verified. They come in double chocolate, vanilla almond or blueberry cashew! Soak the Stress Away Heading back to school this year (especially after a year of being in and out of school) can be a bit stressful and anxiety-filled, which is why this Dr. Teals Melatonin Collection is great for bedtime routines. It’s infused with beneficial vitamins, minerals, essential oils and Melatonin to restore and rejuvenate both mind and body, while promoting a good night’s sleep. Available at Walmart and Shoppers Drug Mart. Safely Sanitize For students heading back to class, hand sanitizers are going to be as essential as any supply.  These Spread Love, Not Germs hand sanitizers from Bath & Body Works come in a small PocketBac size, perfect for tossing in their backpacks, desks or lockers. They also come with super cute holders so they can toggle their sanitizer to their bag for easy access. Later in the year, they also make for amazing teacher gifts! On-the-Go For university students on the go, Walmart has great value overall for back to school. With this Hamilton Beach mini-blender, university or college students can quickly whip up a breakfast smoothie straight into