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Online predators exploiting children during pandemic – RCMP Warning


The RCMP have put out a warning to parents to be more vigilant of their children’s online activities – as they are being targeted by online predators in new and increasing ways.

With Canadian children now at home since all the schools were closed, and being unable to play with their friends and or in parks and playgrounds, predators are taking advantage of the Covid-19 pandemic and the increase in the time that children are spending online.

Online predators exploiting children

These predators have been around for a long while, sitting somewhere in front of their computer screens – and in the darkness of their tortured minds, they spread their sickness like the virus itself. Yes, they are clearly suffering from a mental illness and perhaps even victims themselves, but any empathy towards them would be hard-pressed – especially at a time like this.

“What we’re seeing is online offenders, particularly in the area of child sexual exploitation, is they’re changing their own behaviours and patterns because they know the kids are going to be home with increased screen time… you need to be involved in their digital life and you need to have good, solid, mature conversations with them about the potential risks that could happen,” Arnold Guerin, Sergeant of the RCMP’s Child Exploitation Crime Centre said, in a CTV news report.

While parents shouldn’t necessarily be alarmed, they should be vigilant, he added. “Parents can take advantage of technological safeguards like PARENTAL CONTROLS or CONSULT CYBERTIP.CA and PROTECTKIDSONLINE.CA for strategies on online safety.”

“You definitely want to be involved in reviewing the privacy settings on the apps so you know what’s being shared out. You have some comfort that you’re doing the best you can to restrict private information,” said Guerin in CTV’s report.

A recent news report from the Northwest Territories RCMP said that ‘danger’ comes in many forms and things for parents to be aware of include children being coerced or deceived into producing explicit images or video and adults arranging to meet and abuse young people.

As well, you should also keep an eye on the games and apps your kids are using, ideally before they download them. Make sure privacy settings for online games and apps are at their highest level. If you can, keep electronic devices in a part of the home that everyone shares instead of behind a closed door in a child’s bedroom’.

They also recommend you “speak to your children and explain that anyone who asks for nude pictures or asks them to engage in sexually explicit activity needs to be reported to a parent, guardian or other trusted adult and law enforcement.”

Research shows offenders are less likely to target children who present a risk of telling, they explain. concluding by saying, “Predators rely on secrecy to groom and offend, which is why it’s important to report suspicious activity. Sexual attention in any form toward a child is never OK.”

By: Bonnie Wurst – mtltimes.ca

Other articles from totimes.ca and mtltimes.ca

Canada will get ‘millions of masks’ from China, and ramp up PPE production on the homefront

Ontario reports 375 new cases of COVID-19, 27 more deaths

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will answer questions from kids about COVID-19 via CBC Kids

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