Parents are urged to take an active role in the content their children are posting and who they are communicating with on digital platforms.
“If your child doesn’t want you to see what they are writing or who they are talking to on the Internet and other devices, it’s time you look into it,” said Detective-Constable Michele Bond of the Child Exploitation Section of the Sex Crimes Unit, at an International Safer Internet Day press conference at police headquarters on Feb. 11. “We are pleading with parents to wake up and become more involved in their children’s lives.”
Just last week, a 41-year-old man was charged with luring and assaulting a teenager who made contact with him on the internet.
“In response to emerging online risks and recent tragedies involving young people in Canada, it has become even more important to work together to reduce the incidence of adolescent sexual exploitation,” Bond said. “Within the last year, the Toronto Police Service has become inundated with investigations dealing with youths, not only taking explicit pictures of themselves, but also chatting with unknown individuals that they believe are as young as they are.”
“This is why on International Safer Internet Day, the Toronto Police Service is letting, not only Torontonians know, but people in the Greater Toronto Area, Ontario and all across Canada know about the comprehensive internet safety resources and tools that are available online through the Canadian Centre for Child Protection. These tools are available to assist parents make sense of how they can help their children understand online risks and protect them in an ever-changing technological world.”
More information is available at protectchildren.ca including the School and Family Approaches to Intervention and Prevention and How Can Parents Keep Teens Safe from Online Sexual Exploitation?
“There is also another guide about parenting tweens and teens in the digital world that gives parents a good insight about what they need to know about self/peer exploitation, safety tips needed regarding their cell phones, online luring, the important discussions you need to have with your children about online contact with people and much more.”