B.C. youth in government care to get cell phones | #socialmedia | #education | #technology | #infosec

All youth in care in B.C., ages 13 to 18, will receive their phones over the next two months.

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Close to 4,000 youth in government care in British Columbia will receive iPhones with a 5G data plan to ensure they are better connected with their peers and counsellors.

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The request was made by the province’s Youth Advisory Committee and the Minister of Children and Family Development agreed they deserve to have the same resources and support as their peers who are not in government care.

“Smartphones have become a necessity, but youth in care tell us they face barriers because they don’t have them,” said Mitzi Dean.  “This will allow them to connect to people and alleviate feelings of isolation and loneliness and will help them to keep safe.”

All youth in care in B.C., ages 13 to 18, will receive their phones over the next two months.  The province has partnered with Telus Wise, a free digital literacy program that will help educate youth, social workers, caregivers and care providers in the use of technology that balances the benefits and the risks that digital technologies and social media can present. The ministry said clear guidelines and ongoing support will be available so youth can be supported to learn to manage their smartphone in a responsible and safe way.

The executive director of Victoria’s Youth Empowerment Society called the initiative “absolutely necessary.”

Pat Griffin said, “Providing this technology will not only help level the playing field, but it gives them a better chance to participate in school, in day-to-day social life that is a central feature of teen development and identity, and in the job market as they get older.”

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