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On Safer Internet Day police say internet safety for kids a growing concern

Parents are urged to keep their children safe by being pro-active and involved with their children's online activities.
Friends in the street with smartphones

On this Safer Internet Day, the Manitoba RCMP would like to remind parents and the public about a growing concern being observed by our officers from the Internet Child Exploitation unit (ICE). Self-Exploitation is generally defined as youth creating, sending or sharing sexual images and/or video of themselves with peers online (YouTube, TikTok, Instagram, etc.) or through electronic devices. The Manitoba RCMP’s ICE unit has been receiving a higher than average number of calls from Social Media Applications reporting children taking these video and posting them online, often linked to their parent’s social media accounts/devices. In 2022, the ICE unit received 242 reports from Social Media Applications. For 2023, the number of reports increased to 652. The following tips can help ensure your children have a safer experience online;

  • A reminder that social media applications are recommended 13+.
  • Know all of your child’s account usernames and passwords.
  • Be aware of secondary/backup accounts often referred to as “Spam” accounts.
  • Check your child’s devices regularly and often, check on what they “Google” and watch on YouTube and who they communicate with on social media.
  • Talk to them about appropriate online etiquette (eg. bullying, harassment, threats, sexting and grooming).
  • Free monitoring/parental control applications for electronic devices exist and are a great place to start when monitoring a child’s online activity.

“We encourage parents and guardians to talk to their children about online safety and to be vigilant of unsolicited friend requests,” said Corporal Gord Olson, of the Manitoba RCMP ICE unit. “Safe online habits can go a long way to protecting kids from exploitation, but parent awareness is also key”.

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