Many children will be waking up to new electronics on Christmas morning, but the RCMP-RNC Integrated Internet Child Exploitation Team says those gifts can give predators more of a chance to communicate with kids, and they are asking parents to talk with their children about the risks.
Caregivers are encouraged to talk with their children about internet safety, in particular about the sharing or exchanging of sexually explicit pictures or videos.
They highlight some of what they’re calling the basic rules of internet safety, such as not putting too much personal information online, only accept friend requests and communicate with people they know, and never share nude or sexual images or videos in any way.
They say often predators may make threats to harm themselves or members of a child’s family in order to get what they want, and then once in possession of such images, try to extort the person in question.
Parents are encouraged to tell their kids not to respond to such requests.
As well, they tell parents to foster open conversations with their children so they feel safe coming to them in the event that they are a victim of abuse.
For young people, they stress that being targeted by an online predator is nothing to be embarrassed about.
They say to not follow through on any demands, to talk to a trusted adult, and to report such activity to the police.