Merlyn Horton, Online Safety Expert
SafeOnline Education Associates
Merlyn Horton is a Canadian Online Safety Expert and CEO of SafeOnline Education Associates.
Dynamic, engaging and entertaining—her knowledge of online environments and the dynamics of online communities as they pertain to youth and children is unparalleled.
“Fantastic Speaker Presents on Online Safety at PAC Meeting
“Last night’s PAC meeting included a presentation by a speaker from SOLOS on online safety. The speaker was fantastic, the parents were engaged (and, frankly, slightly frightened), and the topic was current, current, current!”
Lord Tennyson Elementary PAC Feedback, 2013
“Wow! It was a great talk. I wish even more parents had the opportunity to see hear/see it. I hope we can get them to come in to present to our students (at least the older ones).“
Tina, Lord Tennyson Elementary PAC attendee
Online Safety Education Programs
Merlyn Horton is a trailblazer in the field of youth and digital safety, having founded SafeOnline back in 2002 and passionately dedicating her work to keeping children safe online. Through her work with SafeOnline, she provides expert knowledge-filled workshops and presentations that help parents, teachers, and youth understand responsible internet use.
As an online safety expert, her pioneering foresight allowed Merlyn to become an invaluable source of knowledge about the intersections between teens and technology for decades. Her insight into the potential consequences of digital interactions proved ahead of the curve and has saved countless kids from harm’s way.
Her work has been widely praised for its impactful information delivery which helps young people and adults understand the risks associated with online activities and how to protect themselves from potential harm.
Over the years, Merlyn’s groundbreaking and revolutionary presentations have been hosted by schools and community-service organizations throughout the province, of British Columbia, Canada; students, grades 4-12, university students, parents and caregivers, educators, social workers, youth counsellors, probation officers, youth-serving professionals and native elders were informed by relevant, appropriate and engaging online safety presentations.
In 2016, this visionary leader made the bold decision to transition her business from a traditional non-profit education provider to SafeOnline Education Associates — a private consulting firm where Merlyn continues to provide informative presentations and advice.
Merlyn has published policy documents for provincial government ministries, presented to international conferences and been featured on major media outlets.
International Conference Speaker
Throughout her career, Merlyn Horton has spoken at international conferences on topics including:
- cyber abuse
- online sexual exploitation
- children and media
- social media and human resources
- homelessness and social media
- victims of domestic violence and technological risks
- online pedophile communities
Her expertise has been utilized in developing social media policies for non-profit organizations, advising human resource professionals about online risks and writing provincial policies.
Prior to founding SafeOnline, her early frontline employment background included work as in sexual health education, outdoor wilderness instruction, youth group home management, foster home supervision, women’s transition house work and street outreach work.
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 250,000 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
- 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
In the Media
- Global News TV – January 27, 2016
Emotional and social development stunted by too much screen time
- CTV TV News – August 14, 2012
Convicted child-lurer caught with phony Facebook account
- Tech Talk with Merlyn Horton : FED Meeting
Selection of Clients
Blair Elementary School
Cameron Elementary School
Chilliwack Secondary School
Crofton House School
David Thompson Secondary School
Evans Elementary School
King David High School
Musqueam Indian Band
North Shore Neighbourhood House
Sechelt Community Schools
Vancouver Technical Secondary School
Professional Workshop or Conference Presentations
BC Alternate Educators Association
BC Recreation and Parks Association
Coquitlam Teacher’s Association
Caledonia Victim Services
District of Mission Victim Services
Hollyburn Family Services
Kwantlen Polytechnical University
Literacy in Kamloops
The Federation of Community Social Services of BC
Richmond Society for Community Living
Surrey Teacher’s Association
Victoria Child Abuse Prevention & Counselling Cent
Social Media Policy Consultations
Hulitan Family Services
Options Community Services
Urban Native Youth Association
First Nations Education Steering Committee
Metis Nations of British Columbia
Parent Workshops and Presentations
Chilliwack Foster Parents
Foster Parent Support Services Society
Foster Parent Association of Ontario
Literacy in Kamloops
N’Quatqua Child and Family Development Centre
Pacific Community Resources Society