Par­ents en­cour­aged to be vig­i­lant about chil­dren’s on­line ac­tiv­i­ties

RCMP’S In­ter­net Child Ex­ploita­tion Unit re­ports sev­eral in­ci­dents of young peo­ple sex­u­ally ex­ploit­ing them­selves on the In­ter­net

Sackville Tribune - - OPINION -

The New Brunswick RCMP is en­cour­ag­ing par­ents to be vig­i­lant about what chil­dren are do­ing on­line, af­ter a num­ber of re­cent in­ci­dents of young peo­ple sex­u­ally ex­ploit­ing them­selves on the In­ter­net.

In re­cent months, the RCMP’S In­ter­net Child Ex­ploita­tion (ICE) Unit iden­ti­fied four chil­dren be­tween the ages of eight and 12 in New Brunswick who vol­un­tar­ily shared nude pic­tures or videos of them­selves and made them avail­able to the pub­lic on var­i­ous free web­sites. All of the chil­dren have been iden­ti­fied and con­firmed to be safe.

“It is un­for­tu­nately be­com­ing more com­mon for young peo­ple, even chil­dren, to share ex­ploita­tive pho­tos and videos of them­selves on­line, and once it’s on­line it can’t al­ways be re­moved,” said Sgt. Chan­tal Far­rah of the New Brunswick RCMP. “Many young peo­ple also don’t re­al­ize that pub- licly shar­ing images or videos of a sex­ual na­ture of a per­son un­der the age of 18 is a child pornog­ra­phy of­fence.”

The RCMP of­fers the fol­low­ing tips for par­ents and guardians:

• Know what sites chil­dren visit on­line. Many In­ter­net ser­vice providers of­fer tools to limit or re­strict web­sites.

• Reg­u­larly mon­i­tor the var­i­ous de­vices used by chil­dren to ac­cess the In­ter­net, such as tablets, smart­phones, and gam­ing con­soles.

• Talk to chil­dren about what’s ap­pro­pri­ate for them to do on­line, and about in­ap­pro­pri­ate be­hav­iour or re­quests from oth­ers.

• Con­sider mak­ing a fam­ily con­tract out­lin­ing on­line rules and have reg­u­lar check-ins with chil­dren about their on­line ac­tiv­i­ties.

The RCMP is an of­fi­cial part­ner of the Cana­dian Cen­tre for Child Pro­tec­tion. Visit their web­site, http://www.cy­ber­tip.ca/, for ad­di­tional tips and re­sources for talk­ing to chil­dren about on­line safety and what to look for, or to re­port any in­stance of on­line child ex­ploita­tion.

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