Monthly Archives: May 2016

How to Protect Your Child’s Safety Online

provided by NordVPN

9_Calgary%20Police%20Service127[1]Research shows that children are the most vulnerable members of society when it comes to identity theft online.

Nowadays kids start using Internet at a very young age, but many are not yet equipped to understand the dangers of revealing too much information online. They are very quick and eager to use Internet-enabled devices, but lack the obvious know-how about online privacy and security, and are often eager to overshare. For example, Symantec, an online security company conducted a study in Singapore, which suggested that more than 1 million people in the country were victims to online crime last year. 20 percent of them said that it was their children who had downloaded a virus or malicious software to the parent¹s or family computer.

Another danger is targeted attacks on children by cyberthieves, who pry on young netizens because their identities can be easily manipulated. Criminals, for example, can combine a child¹s Social Security number with a fake date of birth and address to open bank accounts, get credit cards or loans.

As children grow, they learn the safe procedures of using the Internet and sharing information on social media. However, the time before this learning curve is the most dangerous ­ and it¹s when parents and educators could step in and offer guidance.

Please take a look at some tips & tricks parents can implement at home to teach children about Internet privacy and safety.

1. Lay out some ground rules. Whether your child is a teenager or a kid in elementary school, you need to tell them a few basic guidelines. For example, you can start by telling that anything shared once on the Internet stays there forever and that nothing is 100% private.

2. Tell them to check with you. First tell your child what ³personal information² means. Draw up a list for them and tell them clearly that they should always consult with you before sharing those details together with any website or person on the Internet.

3. Password protection and usage. Children at a young age start creating their own email accounts these days. Although such email websites alert users to choose strong passwords, advice your child on what kind of passwords to choose. Tell them that the password could be a mix of characters and special symbols and ask them never to share their passwords with anyone, perhaps even with you. Diceware is an easy to use password methodology, where you roll a six-sided die five times and use the results to pick five random words from the list.

4. Curb social media usage. Children spend a lot of time on social media, so it¹s important to let them know what is OK to share and what isn’t. Have a talk with your child and discuss what they should not share on social media, for everything stays forever on the Internet. If you want to take an extra step in securing your child¹s online privacy, create fake social media names for them and fake school/ city name.

5. IM and texting. Sending messages on IM clients like messenger or Whatsapp is something every teenager does, but they don¹t always know that their chats are not 100% private. Therefore, you should advise them never to share personal or bank details or other sensitive information like passwords via messages.

6. Share news of personal hacks with them. If your child is big enough to understand this, share the latest news about identity thefts or personal hacks with them to make them aware of the dangers they face while using the Internet.

7. Explain the dangers of free public Wi-Fi. Kids love free Wi-Fi ­ who doesn’t. Cafes, shops, and even school cafeteria might have unsecured Wi-Fi networks. Explain to your kids to be especially cautious when connecting to these networks ­ as they can easily be monitored. One of the best ways to safely use public Wi-Fi is by installing a VPN. You can pre-install a VPN on a mobile device and teach kids to turn it on whenever using public wifi.

8. Install a VPN. For ultimate protection install a VPN service on the device they use to encrypt their online communication data. VPN, or Virtual Private Network, creates a connection tunnel that automatically encrypts all the data coming in and out of your device, and effectively protects anyone using the Internet. NordVPN is one of the safest and most user-friendly VPNs on the market. All you have to do is press the ON button ­ and you are connected. NordVPN works on up to 6 devices, and now also has Mac and Android apps.

9. Warn them of game scams. Agree to install games together with your kids. Research to see if the game and the provider are reputable. Make sure you download the games only from a reputable source after reading some reviews. Too often fake games are uploaded online, which are made to pop with color on websites, prompting kids to install them for free, when in fact it¹s malware that could infect your device.

10. Communication with strangers. The Internet is as social as ever. New chat rooms, forums uniting different interest groups are popping up every day. As kids are eager to discuss their interests with peers, it is important to speak to them about sharing one¹s private information. Under no circumstances should they share any pictures, addresses, etc.

11. Email deals are fake! All that sparkles is not gold. If your kids receive an email about a great offer like a free cell phone or concert tickets ­ it¹s a trick designed to get one to give up personal information. Again, advise your kids to always show you such emails and never respond to them.

Kids these days are more tech-savvy then most of their parents when they were that age ­ but at the same time, they will be exposed to online identity thefts, hackings and snooping if they are not taught basic Internet safety rules from an early age.

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May Long Weekend Fun!

Pg74-RinginSpring[1]May 20 & 21 – Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra (Free Tickets to E.T. for Fort McMurray Evacuees!)
The Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra is proud to support displaced residents of Fort McMurray staying in the Calgary area by offering complimentary tickets for 2 upcoming Calgary Philharmonic concert events. Residents showing Fort McMurray ID at the Box Office on the day of the eligible concerts will receive free entry! Tickets are subject to availability while seats last. The two eligible concert events are: May 20 at 8pm and May 21 at 2pm. To claim tickets: Show Fort McMurray ID to the Box Office at the Jubilee Auditorium on the day of the performance.

May 20 & 21 – Picnic in the Village
YYC Food Trucks Wheel Out Picnic in the Village. Admission is $5 and the event is free for kids under the age of 14! The picnic will be taking over Crossroads just east of the Simmons Building. More than 15 food trucks will be in attendance at this year’s event serving up a plethora of food. There will also be live music from BassBus, giveaways, cold beer from Village Brewery and a slew of things to see and do!

May 21 – The Banff Centre Children’s Festival
Check website for individual showtimes. Take a journey into the world of creativity! All ages welcome. Check out The Floating Mouse, The Kif-Kif Sisters and Dan Zanes. Plus, there will be many free events including circus, dance and craft workshops, bouncy castles and more! Don’t miss Cas Public Symphonie Dramatique for older audiences ages 10+. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit

May 21 to 23 – Heritage Park Historical Village Opening Weekend
Kick off the long weekend with Heritage Park! Start the day off with a complimentary pancake breakfast, then take a spin at the Antique Midway, meet new baby farm animals, enjoy a new play and more! For more information, visit

May 21 to 23 – Grand Opening Weekend at Calaway Park
Calaway Park is celebrating 35 Years of Family Fun in 2016! Join in all the excitement of 32 rides, 23 skill testing games, 24 tasty food locations, 5 attractions and live entertainment all included with your one pay gate admission!

May 21- 35th Anniversary Charity Event & My Favorite Ice Cream Shoppe
Come on down for a free single ice cream cone during the event for customer appreciation and the fundraising event for the Children’s Wish Foundation and First Steps! There will also be music, face painting, draw gifts and more! There are two My Favorite Ice Cream Shoppe locations: 2048, 42 Avenue SW & Unit #1114, 8561, 8A Avenue SW.

May 21 – Puppet Pop-Up Studio: Pop-Up Puppets
Make your own pop-up puppet from step-by-step instruction, perform with your puppet and be a part of a story. It’s fun for the whole family! Note: Children and teens must participate with an adult or senior. The Puppet Pop-Up Studio is a monthly puppet-making and performing workshop on the third Saturday of each month at different locations in Calgary. All family members, youngsters and elders can create art and drama together, and this workshop accommodates all skills and ages, with a different theme each month.

May 23 – Conspirare: A Company of Voices IN CONCERT
Don’t miss the Grammy Award-winning Conspirare: A Company of Voices in concert for one night only! Conspirare is a virtuoso choir – a dream team of singers from around the U.S.A. Their concerts are mosaics of music and poetry, beautifully crafted into inventive programs designed to surprise and delight. So whatever your musical inclinations, you’ll be moved and transformed by the Conspirare experience! In this concert, Conspirare will pay tribute to the late, great Stephen Paulus (1949-2014), known for his lush melodies, elegant craftsmanship and a mastery of understanding the human voice to create gorgeous compositions.

What’s Most Important in Life?

By Sara Dimerman

On days such as Mother’s Day and my birthday, my children often ask “What would you like? What do you need?” The truth is that I want nothing more than I already have. Another technological gadget or piece of jewellery does not fulfill me in the same way that creating memories with my family does. So, this past Mother’s day, my daughters did exactly what I asked for: they made me something. I heard what sounded like sawing coming from behind the closed door of Chloe’s room in the days leading up to Mother’s day. What was presented to me on the actual day was a very creative and colourful piece of cardboard, cut to specifications and wrapped in bright pink duct tape with tin foil letters cut out to create the word MOM on it. Her DIY project, a template on which to fold T shirts , was not only thoughtful but impressive too. This, along with a handmade card, made me swell with love and pride. My other daughter, Talia, purchased a beautifully bound red book titled “I love you Mom. Here’s why….” and then spent days thinking and writing about all of the things she appreciates about me along with a collection of memories that have created a strong bond between us along the way. I couldn’t have asked for anything more heartfelt or special.

It was with these treasured items of caring and love by my side that I watched footage of the moms and dads, grandparents and children – families who have had to flee from their homes as fire ravaged everything they had worked so hard to create over the years in Fort McMurray, Canada. Time and time again I heard many speak about how grateful they were to have, at least, their families by their sides and how their material possessions appeared so trivial next to knowing that the people they love are safe. So, it may not have been their finest piece of art work but rather their child’s favourite hand drawn picture, framed on the wall, that they gathered in their haste to leave. And it may not have been their expensive camera, but rather a stack of photo albums, reminding them of precious memories over the years, that they packed into their trunks as they left their driveways en route to who knew where. One woman pulled a copy of Robert Munsch’s book, Love You Forever, from the trunk of her car to show a reporter. Apparently her mom had given it to her on a recent visit home.

This got me thinking about what I would grab if I had five minutes to flee my home. Aside from my family and animals, I wondered if I should actually put my most treasured items – the ones above included – into a box in the garage or close to the front door, so that if the time ever came, I wouldn’t have to think about which room or cupboard to find them in. I already have all of the videos I have taken of our children and family over more than two decades on dvds in a shoe box. There are too many photo albums to grab, but perhaps I would take the two birthday albums for each of our daughters, which show how they have grown from year to year, along with all of the pictures of their friends at the time.

At a time like this, when the world comes together to help fellow human beings cope with such devastating loss, it’s hard not to take stock of one’s own life and ultimately, to reflect on what’s most important.

Sara Dimerman is a Psychologist, Author and mom to two daughters. For more advice, connect at or on Twitter @helpmesara.

Support, Resources and Services for Fort McMurray Evacuee Families

Things to Do

Aero Space Museum of Calgary
Free admission to residents of Fort McMurray – please provide proof of residence.

Bow Habitat Station
Complimentary Discovery Centre admission at Bow Habitat Station – please provide proof of residence.

Butterfield Acres Children’s Farm
Offering discounted rate to Fort McMurray evacuees. For more information

Calgary Zoo
Free admission to residents of Fort McMurray – please provide proof of residence.

City of Calgary Recreation Centres
Free access to the City’s 11 aquatic centres and to the Village Leisure Centre and Southland Leisure Centre for all evacuees – passes available at the reception centre you are registered with in Calgary, or by presenting address verification at customer service for each centre.

Fort Calgary
Free admission for all evacuees and family members who find themselves in Calgary. Free or discounted programs will also be offered for students and summer camps. For more information, visit

Glenbow Museum
Free entry for residents of Fort McMurray – please show personal ID to admissions desk.

Kayben Farms
Displaced Ft McMurray residents who are staying in the Calgary area are invited to play FREE at Kayben Farms for the month of May. Just show ID with address.

Calgary’s Child Family Guide
24/7 solution for finding fun, support and resources in Calgary 

Free admission to displaced residents – please identify yourself at main information desk upon entry.

If you are displaced from Fort McMurray and find yourself in Calgary please feel free to come to Vivo – we welcome you, free of charge to recharge with a workout, swim, shower and so much more!

Westside Recreation Centre
Offering free admission to those displaced by the Fort McMurray wildfire.

YMCA Calgary would like to extend an invitation to all of those evacuated from fire-affected areas to use any of our YMCA Calgary locations free of charge.
Includes free use of facilities, including drop-in programs, classes, showers, and aquatic centres.

Beaners Fun Cuts
Children’s hair salon Beaners Fun Cuts is offering free cuts to all Fort McMurray residents at Calgary locations with proof of identification. For more information, visit the
website here.

General Resources 

Register with Red Cross – 1-888-350-6070 or online
Evacuees need to track their expenses and keep all their receipts for food purchases, accommodations, and other expenses and provide those receipts to their insurer. Call your insurance agency as soon as possible to alert them that you are an evacuee and what you’ll need to do once you determine the status of your home.

Alberta Government Emergency updates
Updates and information on the Fort McMurray and other Alberta wildfires, evacuation and other information related to this event.

Social Media & Websites

Fort McMurray Evac Relocation Help 
Accommodation, support requests and offers.

YMM Help
Assisting those affected by Fort McMurray fires

  • Offers for Help and I Need Help
  • Accommodation offers & requests
  • Food Banks
  • Volunteer Opportunities
  • Missing Pets & pet food donations
  • Donation Requests and distribution areas
  • Grad Dresses, dance & gymnastics, sports gear
  • Store & Restaurant discounts

Fort McMurray Evacuee Open Source Help Page
This is an open source page to help Albertans evacuating from Fort McMurray wildfires. Albertan’s are encouraged to post offers of help.

Airbnb Disaster Response
All service fees are waived for those affected by the disaster and checking in between May 05, 2016 and May 21, 2016. 

Camp Chestermere
Offering accommodation and support for Fort McMurray evacuees. Please contact them at 403 483 0603 for more information.

Clothing for a Cause
Clothing for a Cause has turned their expertise to helping evacuated families from Fort McMurray. They will bring pre-sorted sized and appropriate clothing to you. (403)-402-8663.   

Basically Babies
Distributing emergency sets of baby supplies to Fort McMurray families with newborns.

Medical, Emotional & Distress Help

Mental health support is available by calling Alberta’s 24-hour Mental Health Help Line at 1-877-303-2642.

Suicide Prevention Line
In Calgary, call 211

Distress Centre Calgary
Available 24/7 to support those who are feeling overwhelmed, anxious, frustrated, sad or any other range of emotions due to the devastating fires that have brought them to Calgary. Call 403-266-HELP (4357) 24 hours a day, or chat online with them from 3-10pm daily at

Serenity Now Wellness
This not-for-profit foundation has free counselling sessions to those that have been impacted by the fire. 587-226-8692, 403-454-7600

Educational Support

Renfrew Educational Services  is providing support for families from Fort McMurray with special needs

Displaced students from Fort McMurray and surrounding communities are encouraged to register with the local school division.

All Grades 6 and 9 Provincial Achievement Tests have been cancelled for evacuated students from designated school boards.

Select Preschools are offering open spots to evacuated Preschoolers.

Vital Information

Canada Post
To help reconnect displaced residents with the postal system as quickly as possible, register for Mail Forwarding service. This is an important service not just for ongoing mail and parcels, but it also provides a vital link with government and relief agencies going forward. Call our customer service line at 1-866-607-6301.If any affected resident requires urgent access to critical items, such as medications or passports, please call 1 800 267-1177.

Evacuees can replace ID & birth certificates for free at any registry location.

The Alberta SPCA
The Alberta SPCA is doing everything they can to rescue and care for animals which were left behind during the evacuation. Your pet will receive veterinary care and be looked after by trained animal care professionals until you can be reunited safely. There is an online form on the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo website to register your pet and request an emergency pet rescue. The Alberta SPCA will be in contact with you within a few days after registration. 

Student Loans
Student loan payments for those affected, including for recent graduates, will be deferred for six months, interest-free. Detailed information for students and graduates is available on the Student Aid website. You can also contact Student Aid over the phone Monday to Friday between 7:30 a.m. and 8:30 p.m. at 1-855-606-2096.

Calgary Transit
Transit is offering free passes to any evacuee, regardless of where they are staying. Evacuees with require a pass can get one at the U of C Reception Centre (Dining Centre,) 124 University Gate N.W.

May is blooming in Calgary!

94_Autonomy_S128Take advantage of our warm and sunny spring weather and enjoy the many awesome family-friendly activities going on all over the city. There’s something to appeal to every age and stage!

May 7, 8, 13, 14; 15; Day Out with Thomas, Heritage Park Historical Village. Thomas the Tank Engine is chugging into Heritage Park for two weekends of fun! Take a 20-minute ride with Thomas, meet Sir Topham Hatt and enjoy a day full of activities. Tickets:

May 7, at 10am to 2pm; Mom’s Pamper Lounge at the Calgary Farmers’ Market. Behind every good kid is a great mom! Bring your mother to the Calgary Farmers’ Market on Saturday, May 7 from 10am to 2pm to enjoy the Complimentary Pamper Lounge. Moms will enjoy neck massages from Mount Royal University Massage; delicious juice samples from Cherry Pit to Go!; tasty treats from Sugar Creek Kettle Corn; fabulous new tea samples from TotaliTea! spin to win with Eden Essentials; a kids craft – provided by Mommy Connections; and lots of exciting draw prizes!

May 8, 11am to 3pm; International Migratory Bird Day Festival, Inglewood Bird Sanctuary. This is a free event! Learn about migration and conservation from birding experts, enjoy nature-themed games and crafts, and go on a guided sanctuary tour!

May 13 & 14, 9am to 9pm; May 15, 9am to 1pm; CBC Calgary/Calgary Reads Big Book Sale. More than 1 million previously loved books will be ready for purchase. Check website for all the family-friendly special events. Takes place at the Calgary Curling Club: 720, 3 Street.– reads-book- sale

May 20, 8 to 10pm; May 21, 2 to 4pm; Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra Presents, E.T. Film with Orchestra. Experience this classic as never before when the CPO performs John Williams’ award-winning score live, accompanying the blockbuster film on the big screen. Tickets:

May 21; The Banff Centre Children’s Festival. Take a journey into the world of creativity! All ages welcome. Check out The Floating Mouse, The Kif-Kif Sisters and Dan Zanes. Plus, there will be many free events including circus, dance and craft workshops, bouncy castles and more! Don’t miss Cas Public Symphonie Dramatique for older audiences ages 10+. Tickets:

May 21 to 23, 10am to 5pm; Heritage Park Historical Village Opening Weekend. Start the day off with a complimentary pancake breakfast, then take a spin at the Antique Midway, meet new baby farm animals, enjoy a new play and more!

May 21 to 23, 10am to 7pm; Grand Opening Weekend, Calaway Park. A weekend you do not want to miss!

May 24, 10am to 12Noon; Garden with Your Child at The Jungle Farm, near Innisfail. There will be different hands-on stations to learn about gardening, bugs, flowers and farm animals. Register on Eventbrite.

May 25 to 28; Celebrate the Best in Performing Arts for Children with the 2016 Kidsfest! Let your imagination soar to the stars and beyond with exciting, critically-acclaimed performances like Celestial Being, starring a young girl who dreams of traveling into space; Morgan’s Journey, an endearing story of a clown’s childhood; Doktor Kaboom, a (slightly) mad scientist who will electrify your world; and the beloved Canadian children’s entertainer, Fred Penner. Tickets are just $17 and include a full day of free outdoor shows and activities! Tickets: 403-294- 9494;