Online Child Sexual Exploitation

September 16, 2021

Awareness

Public Safety Canada is raising awareness about online child sexual exploitation. As technology has advanced, child sexual exploitation has drastically increased in Canada. This is a topic that is difficult to face, but if we don’t acknowledge the problem, we can’t solve it. Between 2014 and 2020, Cybertip.ca processed over 4.3 million child sexual exploitation reports. We can only begin to solve this problem as a country if we learn more about it. Awareness is an important part of crime prevention.

Education

Children are spending more time online than ever before. It’s where they go to play, learn, socialize, and be entertained. As your child gets older and spends more unsupervised time online, it can open the door to harmful situations. Online child sexual exploitation is when children are tricked into seeing or participating in online encounters of a sexual nature. Though we all understand it’s a horrific crime, many don’t know just how prevalent it is in Canada. As a country, we need to open our eyes to the reality of the problem and work together to keep our children safe. Find out what you can do to help prevent online child sexual exploitation.

Statistics

  • 4.3 million child exploitation reports were processed by Cybertip.ca from 2014-2020.
  • 88% increase in sextortion and other online exploitation reports since the pandemic began.
  • Nearly 1 in 4 parents have come across inappropriate online behaviour aimed at their child.
  • 1 in 3 parents was asked by their children about questionable online activity.
  • ½ of parents have never spoken to their children about sextortion or sexting.
  • 39% of luring attempts in the last 2 years were on victims 13 or under.

Did you know?

Sexual images and videos: children can easily be exposed to graphic and potentially harmful sexual content while watching videos, visiting websites, conducting searches or playing games online.

Grooming: is when someone builds trust with a child, and sometimes the adults around them to gain access and control of the child. It can be a stranger or someone your child knows. They normalize sexual behaviours by showing the child sexual images or videos. They may threaten or pressure your child into doing what they ask or even meet in person.

Sexting: is when someone creates, sends, or shares sexual messages, images or videos with friends, people they know or even strangers online. Older kids may think it is harmless, but once an image is sent it is out of their control and it can end up hurting them or someone else.

Sextortion: is a type of blackmail where someone threatens to send a sexual image or video of your child to friends, family or other people if your child doesn't provide more sexual content, pay them or do what they ask. The perpetrator can be a stranger or someone your child knows.

Capping: is when someone, typically an adult, records or screenshots of boys and girls they target on various video streaming platforms or applications getting naked, often without the victim knowing they are recording the video chat. Offenders use video clips and specialized software to make children think they are interacting with someone close to your child’s own age.

What you can do

  • Talk openly and honestly with your child.
  • Start having real conversations with them from an early age.
  • Make these talks part of daily routines like meals or bedtime.
  • Let them know you are available to talk any time.
  • Ask open-ended questions and really listen to their answers.
  • Take an interest in things they like, including what they do online.
  • Show them how to have conversations and share your own thoughts and feelings.
  • Be aware and involved, supervise younger children when they are online
  • Be involved or take an interest in what your child is doing online, know who they are interacting with online
  • Encourage strong passwords and use of privacy settings where appropriate
  • Look for changes in mood, online habits, social behaviour, eating or sleeping habits or use of sexual language that may indicate someone has or is trying to take advantage of them

RCMP encourage the public to report any criminal or suspicious activity to the police. Reports tell the RCMP where to look, who to look for, and where to patrol in the future. Cybertip.ca is Canada’s online tip line for reporting online sexual exploitation of children. Contact Kids Help Phone by calling 1-800-668-6868 or KidsHelpPhone.ca


Friendly Reminders

Report crime online!

The RCMP are encouraging all Albertans to report eligible crimes online (select property crimes under $5,000). Reporting less serious crimes online helps emergency dispatch and frontline members focus their time on high-priority calls. It provides a convenient way to share photos to the RCMP as well. These reports assist in crime analysis, aid in establishing trends and patterns, and ultimately leads investigators to the chronic offenders. It also assists in making decisions about how and where to deploy resources. Crimes reported online will be taken just as seriously as crime reported in any other way.  

Help reduce crime, report online! #ReportSmart

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