Internet sexual predators: rise in reports, notes SQ

Reports on the sexual exploitation of children on the Internet have increased in Quebec in the wake of confinement, notes the Sûreté du Québec (SQ), which calls for parents to be vigilant.
T he SQ unveiled this increase Thursday morning in collaboration with the City of Montreal Police Service (SPVM). The warning applies to all of Quebec, including the Capitale-Nationale region, says Beatrice Dorsainville, spokesperson for the SQ.

“As young people spend more time online during this period of confinement, the risks associated with this type of crime also increase,” explains the Sûreté du Québec in a press release.

The SQ recalls that the sexual exploitation of children on the Internet can take several forms.

Some cyber predators try to convince the child to produce photos or videos of a sexual nature by manipulating or threatening the child on the Internet. Others pretend to be part of the same age group or pretend to be trusted adults in order to bond with the child so that they can then meet and exploit them.

Sometimes, notes the SQ, it is also the young people themselves who produce and share intimate images of themselves without realizing the potential consequences.

The Sûreté du Québec therefore calls for the vigilance of parents so that they are on the lookout for this type of sexual exploitation. It encourages them to pay particular attention to the use their children make of electronic devices and to their activities on the Internet.

The SQ recalls that any form of sexual content involving minors, whether produced by a cyber predator or by the child or adolescent himself, is illegal.

The SQ and the SPVM give these prevention tips to parents to protect children from sexual exploitation on the internet:

Make your child aware of the dangers to which he can be exposed on the Internet, including sexual exploitation, and inform him of the ways to protect himself.
Remind him never to disclose personal information without your permission (name, address, phone, etc.).
Tell him never to agree to meet a surfer “friend” in person.
Encourage your child to share their experiences on the Internet with you the way you tell them about their other friends and non-virtual activities.
Turn on the highest privacy settings for online gaming systems, electronics, and apps.
Set up the computer in a room accessible to the whole family.
Supervise its activities on the Internet, among other things, by preselecting sites of interest yourself.
Ask them to let you know if someone asks them to provide pictures of them or engage in activities of a sexual nature.
For more information and prevention tips:

The Sûreté du Québec invites those who suspect the existence of a potentially dangerous online activity, or who do not know what to do in the circumstances, to contact it.

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