Keeping Kids Safe

Posted: April 14th, 2020

During the pandemic, Tikinagan Child & Family Services continues to work together with our 30 First Nation communities, protecting and caring for children and supporting families. During this time of staying at home, children, youth, and families are under increased stressed and need support. Tikinagan continues to ensure the well-being of children and their families. Throughout this week, we are sharing positive reminders for keeping kids safe during school closures and social isolation on our website and our social media pages.

Check back regularly for new updates on supporting children and families.

For information on protecting children and our response to COVID-19, visit our resource page or call 1-800-465-3624, 24 hours/day.

Know the Signs

Learn know what you may need to report


Child abuse takes many forms, which often occur at the same time. During this time of social isolation, there is limited interaction with children and adults, so it is important to know the signs of child abuse and neglect.

If you suspect child abuse, report the abuse to Tikinagan Child & Family Services, 24/7, at 1-800-465-3624. We're always available to talk about your concerns, and the information you give us, including your identity, will remain confidential whenever possible. You don't need to be sure!

A child who's being abused may feel guilty, ashamed or confused. He or she may be afraid to tell anyone about the abuse, especially if the abuser is a parent, other relative or family friend. In many cases, child abuse is done by someone the child knows and trusts — often a parent or other relative. That's why it's vital to watch for red flags, such as:

• Changes in behavior (aggressiveness, withdrawal)
• Depression, anxiety or unusual fears, or a sudden loss of self-confidence
• An apparent lack of supervision
• Self-harm or attempts at suicide
• Unexplained injuries
• Sexual behavior or knowledge that's inappropriate for the child's age, or statements that he or she was sexually abused.
• Avoidance of certain situations or people
• Desperately seeks affection, excessive crying
• Poor growth or weight gain or being overweight
• Poor hygiene, lack of clothing or supplies to meet physical needs, always tired
• Lack of appropriate attention for medical, dental or psychological problems

While a single sign listed doesn’t necessarily mean abuse or neglect is occurring, it can be an indication that something is wrong. If multiple signs are being exhibited, the child may be at risk of abuse or neglect.

Learn more at tikinagan.org/service/protecting-children.

Cyber Safety

Learn how to keep kids safe online

Cyber experts warn children are at increased risk of being exposed to online predators, as time spent on the internet is soaring as schools close and kids are at home due to coronavirus isolation. It is important to be a part of your children’s media lives. What your kids are watching, playing, reading and listening to is a big part of the person they're turning into, and their online lives can be just as important to them as the “real world.”

Here are some recommendations for keeping kids safe online:

  • Lock apps between 9am and 4pm (traditionally school hours), only allowing them to use apps which are age appropriate and not allowing them to take devices to their bedrooms.
  • Talk to children and youth about cyber safety. It’s okay to ask what they are accessing online.
  • Be clear with setting rules and expectations when it comes to internet usage, and ensuring they follow through with those restrictions.
  • Review games and apps they are downloading.
  • Check your children’s profiles and what they post online. Explain to your children that images posted online will be permanently on the Internet.
  • Make sure children know that anyone who asks a child to engage in sexually explicit activity online should be reported to a parent, guardian, or other trusted adult and law enforcement.
  • Engage in fun, offline and screen-free activities as a family.
  • For more resources and links on cyber safety, check out the Government of Canada’s Guide for Parents at getcybersafe.gc.ca/cnt/rsrcs/cmpgns/cmpgn-06/gd-prnts-en.aspx
  • Check out these great Tip Sheets for families at mediasmarts.ca/parents/find-resources?type_1%5b0%5d=tip_sheet

For information on protecting children and our response to COVID-19, visit Tikinagan.org or call 1-800-465-3624, 24 hours/day.

Cyberbullying

Check out these great resources!

As children and teens spend more time online during the COVID-19 pandemic, cyberbullying may increase as well. CYBERBULLYING.ORG defines cyberbullying as “willful and repeated harm inflicted through the use of computers, cell phones, and other electronic devices."

We recommend child, youth, and families check out CYBERBULLYING.ORG for tips and advice for parents and teens on everything from sexting to responding to this issue. Here are some of their resources:

- Cyberbullying warning signs

- Sexting Advice for Teens and Parents

- Technology Use Contract

- What to do when You're/Your Child is being bulled

- What to do when You're/Child is the bully

- Cyberbullying crosswords and word searches


Check ins

Read why adults need to stay connected

As social distancing measures remain in place to slow the spread of COVID-19, it is still important to check in with young people in our communities to ensure their safety and well-being.

With school and many other children’s activities cancelled, adults who would typically spot signs of child well-being concerns are no longer able to see and report it.

During this time, it is important for children, youth, adults, and Elders to check in on one another regularly. Ask, "How are you doing today? Is there anything our community can do to help? What have you been doing this week?"

Adults who work with kids should check in with them virtually or by phone. Tikinagan Child & Family Services continues to support and check in with families and child in care regularly.

Children and Youth can get confidential support by calling Kids Help Phone at 1-800-668-6868.

Mental Health Supports

Support well-being during the pandemic

As social distancing measures remain in place to slow the spread of COVID-19, it is still important to maintain all aspects of our health, including our mental well-being.


The outbreak of coronavirus may be stressful for people. Fear and anxiety about a disease can be overwhelming and cause strong emotions in adults and children. Coping with stress will make you, the people you care about, and your community stronger.


Stress during an infectious disease outbreak can include:

- Fear and worry about your own health and the health of your loved ones

- Changes in sleep or eating patterns

- Difficulty sleeping or concentrating

- Worsening of chronic health problems

- Worsening of mental health conditions

- Increased use of alcohol, tobacco, or other drugs


Taking care of yourself, your friends, and your family can help you cope with stress. Helping others cope with their stress can also make your community stronger.


We encourage you to check out this link for a full list of helpful resources for children, youth and families from the Mental Health Commission of Canada.


Children and Youth can get confidential support by calling Kids Help Phone at 1-800-668-6868.


Ask Questions, Learn more

Stay connected to others

As we persevere together in this time, it is important to keep connected and continue learning. We can achieve both of these by simply asking questions.


As children and youth remain home, out of school and away from regular interaction with adults, it is important that communities look out for everyone. We can do this by asking questions about others' well-being and safety. Weekly check-ins on their mental health, their safety, and their nutrition can help identify early warning signs of children and youth who may need our help. Questions you could ask include: What did you do today? What have you been eating this week? Have you been having fun?


More than ever before, we have more free time to do what we want, so why not learn something new. Ask questions about your world, your community, or even learn from Elders. We can do many great things with the internet, including research and virtual calling. Stay connected and keep your mind and body active!


Children and Youth can ask questions and learn about their own well-being by calling Kids Help Phone at 1-800-668-6868.