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Youth a Target of Sextortion

Cybertip.ca encourages parents to talk to youth about being cautious on live cam to curb this concerning trend


For Immediate Release

Winnipeg, MB: Today marks the fourth annual Cybertip.ca Awareness Day – a day that is meant to increase public knowledge about the critical service offered by Cybertip.ca for reporting the online sexual exploitation of children and for obtaining important educational material. This year, the Canadian Centre for Child Protection is asking parents to recognize the day by having conversations with youth about the risks associated with using technology to experiment sexually and the potential risk of being sextorted.

Last September, Cybertip.ca started receiving reports involving youth being sextorted – a tactic that involves individuals who coerce youth into sending sexual images or engaging in sexual acts via webcam and then blackmail them with the threat of distributing the sexual images/videos if they do not pay money or provide more sexual images/videos. This year, Cybertip.ca is on track for a 40% increase in the number of reports related to youth being targeted by sextortion tactics.

“Youth are vulnerable, particularly when it comes to live streaming conversations,” says Signy Arnason, Director of Cybertip.ca for the Canadian Centre for Child Protection. “While we recognize that live video streaming is a part of how teens build and foster relationships, we know that to reduce the number of youth being extorted, parents must have open dialogue about how offenders are also using this method to manipulate and harm young people.”

It’s important to talk to youth about the risk of doing something sexual through live streaming as the content can easily be recorded. Offenders can also ‘live stream’ pre-recorded content so the youth might not realize the real person they’re communicating with is an adult. The Canadian Centre has created a sheet, How to Talk to Youth about Online Extortion, to help parents and educators talk to youth about this important issue.

"The Canadian Centre for Child Protection is a critical law enforcement partner and is a world leader in the development of relevant, helpful tools for youth, parents, and educators,” says Inspector Peter Payne, Officer in Charge of the National Child Exploitation Coordination Centre (RCMP). “We encourage all Canadians to report anything they come across online that relates to the sexual exploitation of children. Talk to your kids, kids in the neighbourhood and help law enforcement to protect all of our children."

Three ways to take action and get involved on Cybertip.ca Awareness Day:

  1. Talk to your youth
  2. Spread the word
    • Raise awareness on social media by tweeting and posting using #youthsafety and encourage other parents to talk with their youth about sextortion and other online risks.
  3. Sign up for Cybertip.ca ALERTS
    • Stay up to date with emerging technology trends and new resources designed to increase youth’s personal safety.

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About Cybertip.ca: Since its inception in September 2002, the Cybertip.ca tipline has evolved as a central component of Canada’s national strategy to protect children from sexual exploitation on the Internet. Working closely with law enforcement across the country, the tipline has responded to over 160,000 child sexual exploitation reports from the public, resulting in over 445 individuals being arrested, numerous children removed from abusive environments and the protection of countless children both within Canada and abroad. Cybertip.ca also provides education and awareness material to help keep Canadians safe, distributing close to 11 million safety resources free-of-charge to schools, law enforcement, child welfare, industry and other stakeholders over the past 13 years.

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