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Merlyn Horton, Founder and CEO

"My goal is to be the bridge connecting children, families and professionals with the realities of online risks, and to equip them to manage these risks confidently."

My heart is deeply rooted in the mission of creating a safer digital world for our young people. It all started in 2002 when I embarked on this journey with SafeOnline. It's been a path filled with learning and sharing, as I've had the joy of offering workshops and presentations that empower parents, teachers, and young individuals with the knowledge to use the internet wisely and safely.

As I've navigated through the evolving landscape of technology and its intersection with youth, my aim has always been to provide insights that protect and preserve their well-being online. The thought that my work might have steered even one child away from online dangers fills me with immense gratitude and drives me to continue.

Responses to my efforts at SafeOnline have been inspiring. It's heartwarming to know that the messages resonate, helping people of all ages to recognize and navigate the complexities of the online world. My goal has always been to deliver information that's not just vital but also engaging and accessible to everyone.

I've been fortunate to share these messages across a myriad of venues in British Columbia, reaching an audience as diverse as the communities I serve. From young students in their formative years to dedicated educators and caregivers, the opportunity to connect and impart knowledge is something I cherish deeply.

Looking back on these years, my heart is full, the privilege to contribute to a cause so close to my heart has been very rewarding. It's a journey that's been as rewarding as it is meaningful, and I'm excited to continue on this path, spreading awareness and fostering a culture of safety in the digital realm.

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Key Accomplishments


Merlyn Horton’s educational background includes a Diploma in Journalism (S.A.I.T.) (1988) and an Undergrad Degree (B.P.A.) from Athabasca University (2001) in self-directed studies about online pedophiles and emerging online youth culture.



Her work has been recognized with the 2003 Myrtle Everett Woman of the Year Award and a 2008 Crime Prevention Individual Achievement Award.


Internet Safety Education

Presenter to over 500,000 students, parents and professionals since 2001
2002: Featured speaker at COPINE Conference, Cork Ireland
2003: Featured speaker at the University of Dundee, Dundee Scotland
2012: Featured speaker at ERASE Bullying Summit hosted by Premier Clarke in 2012.
2015: Speaker at 'We Move Forward', Isla Mujeres, Mexico



Lead author of Bridging the Gap
Teaching Online Safety: Tips, Tricks and Best Practices for Online Safety Education (2012)
Online Outreach Toolkit 2014



1984-1987: Family Support Worker
1987-1990: Youth Worker, Trust Treatment Centre
1993: Women's Support Worker, Women's Resource Society of the Fraser Valley
1993-1999: Reconnect Outreach Worker, Abbotsford Community Services (ACS)
1999, Chair and Founder of Abbotsford Community Action Team Against the Sexual Exploitation of Youth
1996-1999: Youth Anger Management Group Facilitator
1996-1999: Abbotsford Youth Shelter Committee
1997: Family Support Worker, ACS
1997-1999: Provincial Reconnect Committee Member
2002: Executive Director, Safe Online Outreach Society (non-profit)
2016-present: CEO, SafeOnline Education Associates


Volunteer Work

1993-1994: R.C.M.P. Victim Services volunteer
1993-1995: Board of Directors, Maple Ridge Family Place
1997- 2019: Mission Folk Music Festival, Stage Manager
2002-2006: Prison Chaplain with Corrections Services Canada
2013-2015: Board of Directors, Federation of Community Social Services

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