Friday, August 2, 2013

Tips for keeping your kids safe online

As summer winds down and children head back to school, the return of homework and research and papers to write will also mean more time on the computer, and on the Internet.
While the Internet has become an invaluable resource for students and parents alike, it also presents a danger to children who might be left unsupervised with something they don’t fully understand.
So how do you keep your kids safe online? The Government of Canada’s Get Cyber Safe program has some tips:
·        Make sure the protection features of websites and software your children use are activated. There are tools available through your Internet Service Provider (ISP) to help you manage your children's online experience (i.e. appropriate websites, amount of time spent online, who can and cannot contact them). It might also include other security features, such as pop-up ad blockers.
·        Get to know the online environments your children use and teach them how to deal with inappropriate material.
·        Talk to them about the implications of posting inappropriate pictures, saying disparaging things about other people and anything else that could damage a reputation or ruin a friendship.
·        Remind them that the Internet is a public space. Things they do and say now on social networking sites could have implications down the road when they're looking for summer employment (employers often search personal profiles for information about candidates).
·        Stay in the know about the latest ways children are communicating and what they're up to when they're at friends’ houses.
·        Keep an eye on the sites they're visiting by keeping the computer in a common area like the kitchen.
For a complete list online safety tips, visit the Get Cyber Safe website at www.getcybersafe.gc.ca.

Credit unions continue to give back to local communities

Every year, Manitoba’s credit unions give back to the communities they serve in a variety of different ways. Whether it’s through charitable donations, scholarships, community sponsorships or volunteer hours, credit unions continue to support their communities.
In 2012, that support once again reached impressive heights. Collectively, Manitoba’s credit unions gave just under $3.5 million back to their communities in the form of sponsorships ($1.66 million to community initiatives and groups) and donations ($1.8 million to charity). Credit unions also provided a further $480,000 in in-kind donations.
The support didn’t stop there, though. Twenty-two credit unions donated a total of 14,620 volunteer hours so their employees could help out in their communities. Additionally, 20 credit unions provided discounted services to community organizations — discounts totaling nearly $100,000.
Manitoba’s credit unions also understand the importance of education and supporting the province’s youth, which is why 34 credit unions, Credit Union Central of Manitoba and the Credit Union Managers Association of Manitoba awarded cash bursaries worth $144,600 to 242 Manitoba students to further their educations.
Finally, credit unions also support their communities in one other important way: by returning profits to their members, thereby returning money back to the communities they serve. In 2012, Manitoba’s credit unions returned a total of $12.45 million to members through the allocation of surplus shares ($7.78 million) and cash ($4.66 million). Members also received an additional $5.2 million in share redemptions and dividends on surplus shares.

Canadians demonstrating more financial control: study

A recent study conducted by Equifax Canada has found that during this time of economic uncertainty, Canadians are demonstrating more financial restraint and controlling their spending.
Equifax, one of the two major credit bureaus in Canada (the other being TransUnion), released the report earlier this year, noting in it that consumer debt repayment speed is changing. The study found that the percentage of unpaid non-mortgage debt going into 90-day delinquency had declined from 1.39 per cent in the first quarter of 2012 to 1.19 per cent by the fourth quarter of the year.
What do those results mean? According to Equifax, past studies have shown that during times of economic volatility or high unemployment, consumers have traditionally taken on more debt (usually in the form of loans) and taken longer to repay those debts. Instead, Canadians seem to be exhibiting more financial control this time around, not going crazy and spending when they shouldn’t be spending.
If you have questions or concerns about your level of debt, please visit our credit union. We’d be happy to work with you to assess your financial needs.

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