3 Tips for Keeping Your Kids’ Information Safe Online

In 2013, global businesses recorded nearly 30 million significant security breaches, and that number has grown 33% on average each year since.

Hearing a stat like this, it’s easy to assume that all victims would be adults. But that’s not the case.

One of the worst cyberattacks of 2015 was on toy firm VTech. Personal information like IP addresses, names, birthdates, and gender was stolen from over 11 million accounts, most of which belonged to children. 

UKnowKids, a software that’s meant to allow parents to monitor their children’s communication and whereabouts, was also targeted by a cyberattack just a few years ago. Over 1700 accounts were compromised, exposing children’s full names, birthdates, GPS coordinates, text messages, and images. 

The internet can be a scary place if you’re ill-equipped, but it doesn’t have to be. Instead, learn how to keep their information safe online, and make sure they understand how important it is to be careful.

Use a VPN to keep location information hidden

A virtual private network (or VPN) uses an encrypted connection to keep your data safe by connecting to an offsite, secure server. This offers two complementary benefits for protecting your family.

First, by encrypting your connection, the VPN ensures that you’re protected from having your information intercepted on any dodgy public networks. Secondly, it prevents your location from being tracked by masking your IP address.

Along with this, of course, make sure your kids know not to tag their location in any Facebook or Instagram posts.

Educate your kids about online safety

If your kids are using a computer, they should understand the basics of staying safe, no matter how old they are. Teach them to never give away their personal information, and show them any security programs that you run on the computer. Make sure they understand how important it is to let you know if something strange happens online, and that you won’t be angry.

Our friends over at TELUSWise offer detailed, age-specific educational content about staying safe online, as well as resources on cyberbullying, and all for free! From elementary school to high school grad, there’s content to suit every stage. 

Find out which companies handle your children’s personal information

Take a moment to think about any companies that can access your kid’s data without you giving it directly to them. Does your school partner with any vendors that require personal information? Who does your school partner with for picture day?

Unfortunately, there has been a rise in North American schools being targeted in cyberattacks due to the government funding that exists. Make sure your school knows how important it is that they partner with vendors that help them mitigate their risk of an attack.

Here at Edge Imaging, we prioritize the data security of the students we photograph and have made a significant investment in this ongoing commitment.

Ask your school to switch to Canada’s most secure school photography company!
Keep your kids' information safe from online cyberattacks with these 3 easy tips

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3 Tips for Greener School Lunches in 2020

New year, new resolutions.

We all know that the most common New Year’s resolutions are about improving ourselves, often revolving around diet or exercise. Around the Edge office, we’re big fans of being eco-champions, and we love the idea of making resolutions to help the environment.

It’s estimated that schools in Canada can generate up to 80,000 tonnes of garbage each week! By resolving to pack greener lunches for your kids, parents can help their schools to reduce this number.

This might sound like a big job, but don’t worry: packing green lunches is simpler than you think. We’ve pulled together a list of our top tips for packing eco-friendlier school lunches for your kids in 2020.

Ditch the plastics

Coverage on the effects of single-use plastics has been widespread; we all know it takes forever to break down, pollutes our oceans, and harms turtles, dolphins, and other sea creatures. So what can you do to help reduce waste?

Pack your kids’ lunches in reusable containers instead of plastic bags or cling wrap, use eco-friendly or cloth napkins, and opt for reusable or bamboo utensils.

You can even take a step further and consider eliminating all single-use plastics from your family’s daily life. 

Use less meat

The UN recently stated that a global shift toward a plant-based diet is necessary to combat some of the effects of climate change. Completely changing your family’s dietary habits is a big step, and one best taken gradually.

Instead of quitting animal products cold turkey (pun intended), set small goals, like packing your kids a meatless school lunch once or twice a week. Swapping ¼ pound of beef for soy just once per week can save the equivalent amount of greenhouse gases from 10 billion smartphones charging.

Meatless food prep doesn’t have to be difficult, either! Here are a few ideas for kid-friendly, healthy, plant-based school lunches to get you started. 

Buy or make snacks in bulk

Next time you have to stock up on snacks for your kids’ school lunches, consider heading to a bulk store like Bulk Barn. Some of these stores offer discounts to customers who bring their own reusable containers instead of using the provided plastic bags. 

By purchasing a larger quantity of snacks that aren’t individually wrapped, you can easily eliminate tons of plastic packaging, not to mention leverage the budget- and time-saving benefits of meal prepping. 

Simply portion the snacks into reusable containers at home, and you’re ready to go!

Here are our top tips for making eco-friendly school lunches as your "green" new year's resolution.
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How to Help Your Kid Set Up for a Successful New Year

As a parent, few things in life feel more important than making sure your child is set up for a successful life. Often, though, the smaller achievements that come along the way can be overlooked, with a stronger focus on bigger, long term goals like graduation, post-secondary, and careers.

With the new year just around the corner, we want to give you some inspiration to hop on the goal-setting train. We believe in the importance of both setting up for and celebrating the small wins; as these often help lead to the bigger ones. Help your kid get set up for success in 2020 by encouraging some of these new year’s resolutions.

Pursue a passion project outside of school

Working on school projects is important, but it’s still part of the regular, day-to-day responsibilities of being a student. Encouraging your child or teen to spend time after school or on the weekends working on something they care about helps them to get into the habit of staying productive in their personal time.

It could be something like writing, journaling, or drawing a picture each day for younger children, while middle and high school-aged kids could learn an instrument or a new language or even fight for an important cause.

Increase mindfulness through meditation

Practicing meditation will equip your child with the tools to stay grounded even through the most stressful parts of their schooling, part-time jobs, or friendships. No child is too young to meditate; even preschoolers can learn to process their feelings in a healthy way through meditation. 

Meditation is a powerful tool that allows people to learn how to deal with their emotions by controlling their own mind and therefore their own life. After taking up meditation, people often report feeling like they have a longer attention span, more self-awareness, and less anxiety.

It’s so easy to get started and the benefits can be amazing. Smartphone apps like Headspace offer affordable meditation courses for both adults and children, and free meditations of different lengths are available for free on YouTube.

Eat healthier

We know, we know, if it was this simple to get kids to eat healthy, dinnertime fights over broccoli would be no more.

It’s not foolproof, but involving children in the cooking process may make them more likely to want to eat healthier food. By teaching young ones where the ingredients come from, what they do for their bodies, choosing recipes, and cooking together, children can learn a lot about the food they eat, and they’re able to feel a sense of pride and accomplishment when the final product is ready.

If that fails, consider whipping up one of these secretly healthy dessert recipes!

Help your kids and teens set goals and new years resolutions that will set them up for a successful year in 2020!
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5 Treats for Your Child’s Holiday Party

It’s the most wonderful time of the year: school holiday parties, work holiday parties, family holiday parties, your child’s friends’ holiday parties, your friends’ holiday parties…

Phew!

Having to bring a snack to a holiday party can be a bigger job than you might expect, especially when kids or schools are involved. There are food sensitivities and allergies to be mindful of, and you’ll probably want to bring something at least a little healthy. You know, to offset the tables full of treats that are bound to be aplenty. 

We understand the struggle, so we’ve rounded up a few of our favourite holiday recipes that we think are great for kids’ holiday parties, whether at school or at friends’ houses. We’ve made sure to include any potential allergens, so you’ll have an easy time finding the perfect recipe.

Fruit and Vegetable Christmas Trees and Candy Canes

Photo courtesy of Kitchen Stewardship

Katie from Kitchen Stewardship provided us with a list of healthy holiday-themed treats, like Christmas trees made from fruits or vegetables, fruity candy canes, festive ice cubes, and more fun snacks that’ll have the kiddos excited to eat something healthy!

These recipes are free from processed sugars, nuts, gluten, egg, and dairy, and are chock full of natural vitamins and minerals.

Get the recipes here!

Santa Cookies

It’s not the holidays without baking up a batch of festive cookies! These Santa star cookies use a classic shortbread recipe and a fun decorating method that your kids are sure to want to help with. 

This recipe isn’t exactly healthy, but it is nut-free and sure to make an impression on the snack table.

Get the recipe here!

Watermelon Christmas Trees

Not everyone is a fan of winter, so why not incorporate some summer vibes into your holiday treats? These super cute watermelon Christmas trees are gluten-free, nut-free, easy to make, and sure to be a hit with students and adults alike!

Get the recipe here!

Strawberry Muffins

Photo courtesy of The Candida Diet

“Send your kids to school with nutrient-dense sugar-free snacks this holiday season. Your children’s teachers – and their health – will thank you!” says Lisa from The Candida Diet. “My Strawberry Muffins recipe makes a nutritious and healthy snack for your kids and their classmates. A great aspect of this recipe is its gluten-free nature which is helpful with the rise of gluten sensitivities and allergies.”

Get the recipe here!

Mudballs

Photo courtesy of Kitchen Stewardship

This is another way to trick those kids into enjoying some healthy snacks! These sweet, chocolatey treats are packed with nutrition from chia and pumpkin seeds, and they’re free from processed sugar, nuts, eggs, and gluten. 

Get the recipe here!

These 5 kid-friendly treats are sure to be a hit at your next Christmas or holiday party!
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