Professional Development Workshops 2017-06-28T15:45:31+00:00

Professional Development Workshops & Consultations

Since technology began to significantly impact B.C. youth, particularly high-risk youth, Merlyn Horton and SafeOnline have delivered workshops and presentations to youth-serving professionals: social services, public health, women’s health, law enforcement women’s shelters, and education. These respected, reputable and memorable professional development workshops have been hosted by many non-profit organizations throughout B.C.

Topics covered are as diverse as educational technology, practice policy development, personnel policy development, online risk assessment for sexual offenders, and meeting the needs of diverse client group such as those with hearing, developmental or physical challenges. Regarded as reputable, current and relevant we engage a wide diversity of professionals in communities large and small.

Contact us if you have specific concerns or content you would like delivered to your organization or group. We feel confident in our reputation and invite you to see our website for some testimonials or contact us directly about a reference we can provide in your area of B.C.

Your Life Online   Download Professional Development Workshops PDF


The goal of the workshop is to equip youth-focused professionals with tools to cope with the complications that technology can create for these youth and their families. The presentation will cover a description of online environments (with examples and in understandable language), responsible online behaviours, high-risk behaviours of youth online and their consequences, and specific recommendations for how to respond to these issues.

Issues specifically addressed will include: high risk youth activities online (cyberbullying, sexting, luring, privacy concerns and access to dysfunctional material), legal ramifications of online activities, online use agreements with youth, and protecting yourself professionally. Special emphasis will be placed on child protection priorities and youth work practice priorities.

Your Life Online   Download Cyberspace Youthwork Frontier PDF


Technology is impacting schools, teaching and learning. The challenges of teaching while hand-held devices such as tablets etc. are being integrated into the learning environment, and being able to prepare students to use them in ways that are personally and socially responsibly are stretching many educational professionals’ capacity.

Our Pro-D Day Crash Course will give you and your staff ideas on how to promote positive digital citizenship, improve online safety and utilize online resources within the classroom. Teachers will be provided with an opportunity to ask questions during the workshop. Afterwards, participants will be given with a link to our online source material and research, additional references and follow up classroom activities. This Pro-D(igital) Day Crash Course will give you knowledge to help prepare students use technology in ways that are personally and socially responsible.


  • Introduction – “A Few Quick Questions” (10 minutes)
  • An overview of issues youth face online (30 minutes)
  • Tips on how to improve online safety for yourself and your students (30 minutes)
  • Best practices to promote positive Digital Citizenship (20 minutes)
  • How to make the most of online resources in your classroom (40 minutes)
  • A look at the SafeOnline Resources login page and resources (10 minutes)
  • Wrap and debrief

Your Life Online   Download Pro-D Day Crash Course in Online Culture PDF


This workshop will explore social media opportunities for non-profit, human services oriented organizations. It includes a multimedia presentation with examples, group discussions and collaboration and supplemental templates and handouts.

Topics include;  Social Media (an overview of principles and suggestions about where to start, which platforms to use, in what context, what first steps to take to establish your online presence and  Policy (an examination of how social media is affecting personnel policies, what to adjust to accommodate new challenges in human resources, and and outline of practice policies issues to examine— i.e. confidentiality, obligation to report, informed consent, training, documentation, supervision and debrief).

Examples are provided from the relevant education, youth outreach, mental health services fields. This workshop highlights how to use online resources to supplement your face-to-face services.

Your Life Online   Download Social Media: Agency Challenge or Nightmare? PDF


This presentation uses multimedia and compelling case studies to examine the impact of technology on homeless populations. Included is a review of the current Canadian research on the topic and examples that illustrate some of the trends in mobile and social media use by homeless populations in Canada.

Suggestions for Internet safety, raising awareness for staff and clients, as well as online resources specific to at-risk populations will be provided to participants.

Your Life Online   Download The Internet & At-Risk_Homeless Populations PDF

People fleeing domestic violence face a unique set of challenges now that much of their private support, family communications and access to services may be online.  This workshop covers online risk for this group and what victim services and women’s shelter staff can do to help keep clients safe.

Technology’s role in the risks to victims of social violations via social media sites and stalking will be illustrated as well as how victims of violence can use technology positively to improve their personal safety, what parents involved in custody issues need to consider for their children’s safety, implications for court proceeding of online activities and how to document them. Finally, recommendations on how victim services and women’s shelter staff could use technology to make their services better will be provided. All academic studies, statistics, resource material and information will be made available to participant following the workshop.

Your Life Online   Download Technology & Victims of Domestic Violence PDF

Cyberspace, sexting, online harassment and global access to people, information and groups have significantly changed many of the high-risk activities youth experience today. This presentation will look a examples of technology’s impact on youth who offend and those who are harmed both vicariously and directly by technology.

Technology’s impact in streets gangs, the sexual exploitation of youth and mental health issues will be presented along with examples of forward thinking online approaches to reducing harm to youth. ”

Your Life Online   Download The Role of Technology in Youth Crime & Victimization PDF

Many professionals are  becoming concerned about how parenting behaviour is being affected by technology. Some think that parents are ‘disconnected’ and that face-to-face relationships are taking a back seat to online obsessions.  This workshop will overview the challenges, and some suggestions for supporting parents to make good on and offline choices. Targeted at childcare professionals working with children 6 and under, we will examine the implications and effects that technology is having on children 6 and under and their families. We will look at the use of social media in relationship to programs and participants, specifically Community Action Program for Children, Canada Prenatal Nutrition Program and Aboriginal Head Start Programs.

We provide a brief list of basic internet safety resources for parents of various literacy levels and we give examples of initiatives relevant to nutrition, wellness, an overview of the most recent/relevant research on internet exposure on early brain development and on social interaction skill development. We provide examples of tools that can enhance literacy skills—including apps and games, additional issues relating to families with young children and what they post about their children online, possible scams aimed at young/single moms online and resources for moms such as recipes, parenting sites and crisis online services. We  discuss active and useful resources for pre and post natal women and families (online information, support groups, risks), risks of texting while driving, role modeling good technology-use values (stack game, not taking phones to bed), increase in emergency room visits by toddlers suspected to be caused by distracted parents on cell phones. We offer practical strategies and tips helpful for staff in their work to support families in general, and specially those with young children.

Your Life Online   Download Young Families, Social Media & Providing Support Services PDF


Multimedia presentation, question period, online follow up resources and printed handouts90 mins to full dayStarting at $1500

Please contact SafeOnline for customized professional workshops to meet the needs of professional educators, law enforcement, youth workers or other concerned groups. Workshops are tailored for content and length according to requirements — two hour to full day workshops from $1500.