RED LAKE – NEWS – Police in the Red Lake and Ear Falls region are urging parents to talk to their children about self-peer exploitation, commonly known as “sexting,” after an increase in local incidents.
The Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) have received reports of youth sending sexually explicit images or videos to friends or unknown individuals over the internet.
Individuals involved in these activities could face criminal charges, including making, distributing, or accessing child pornography, luring minors over the Internet for sexual purposes, publication of an intimate image without consent, and extortion.
Police are providing safety tips to prevent sextortion, such as limiting personal information shared online, setting social media accounts to “private,” and not accepting unknown friend requests. For parents, resources are available online to help keep children safe online, and they should monitor their child’s online activities and talk to them about befriending strangers online.
Individuals asking for or sharing sexually explicit images/videos online could face criminal charges including, but not limited to:
- Making, distributing, possessing, or accessing child pornography
- Luring minors over internet for sexual purposes
- Publication of an intimate image without consent
Safety tips to prevent sextortion:
- Don’t accept unknown friend requests
- Limit the amount of personal information you post to make it difficult for scammers to learn specifics about you
- Set your social media accounts to “private”, or set your privacy settings to limit who can contact you
- Cover your webcam when you aren’t using it so you can’t be recorded without your consent
- Don’t click on links or download files from unknown sources. Anti-virus software can help filter out potentially dangerous emails
- Requests for intimate images of yourself should be a red flag and never send them to any social media platform or electronic device
Tips for parents:
- Look for resources on how to keep your child safe online, such as protectchildren.ca
- Monitor your child’s online activities, social media profiles and who they are friends with
- Talk to them about befriending strangers online and the information they share
- Make them aware of online threats like sextortion, fake profiles, and fraud
- Let them know they can come to you with questions or problems, and that you can help if something has happened
If you are the victim of sextortion, don’t try to handle this alone, and take these steps:
- Stop all communication with the person
- Save all texts, images, and communications
- If you are a youth or teenager, tell your parent or guardian, so they can help you
- Contact police with the help of your parent or guardian
- Make a report through Cybertip.ca
- Report the suspect username through the social media platform from which they are contacting you
If someone is a victim of sextortion, they should stop communication with the person, save all texts and images, tell a parent or guardian, and contact the police or make a report through Cybertip.ca. Those with information about sexual abuse of teens, children, or adults in the Red Lake/Ear Falls area or elsewhere can contact the OPP at 1-888-310-1122 or Crime Stoppers anonymously at 1-800-222-8477.