With the holiday season fast approaching, the RCMP-RNC Integrated Internet Child Exploitation (IICE) Team recognizes that many children are anxiously awaiting new smart phones, tablets and computers on Christmas morning. Police caution parents that while this is an exciting time for many kids, it also offers opportunities for online predators to communicate with children.
IICE reminds parents and guardians that when children receive new electronic devices as gifts, it is an excellent time to talk with them about online safety. Caregivers are encouraged to discuss online safety with their children, especially around the topic of sharing or exchanging sexual or intimate images or videos. Oftentimes, predators may make threats of suicide or threats of harm against the youth's loved ones if they fail to provide the requested images or videos. Once in possession of these images or videos, it is common for a predator to extort a youth for money with the threat of sharing the images with the youth's friends or family. Parents should encourage youth not to respond to such requests or threats.
The RCMP-RNC IICE Team encourages parents and guardians to share basic rules of online safety with their children:
- Do not put too much personal information on their online profiles.
- Only accept friend requests or communicate with people you know.
- Do NOT post or share nude or sexualized images under ANY circumstances.
There will be occasions, however, when youth are targeted and victimized. Parents and guardians are encouraged to foster open conversations with their children to increase the likelihood they will let you know if they've been victims of online abuse. Children need to know that they can always approach a trusted adult of their choice.
If you are a youth who is the victim of online abuse, please do not follow through on any demands by the person targeting you; instead, talk to a trusted adult and report the activity to your local police. Remember, this is nothing to be embarrassed about. Online predators can be very skilled in targeting children and youth.
The Canadian Centre for Child Protection (C3P) is a trusted partner of Canadian police services in the battle against online child sexual exploitation. C3P offers excellent online resources for both youth and caregivers. For more information, please visit https://cybertip.ca/ or https://protectkidsonline.ca/