OPP is urging parents to have a serious discussion with their children about their online activity.
Porn culture is becoming pop culture, and often parents do not know that their kids are involved, and it can be difficult to determine. Parents are encouraged to have honest and frank discussions with their kids about what self-peer exploitation, or sexting, is, and explain that the images can often end up somewhere they may not want them to be.
Police were contacted November 6 by a concerned parent reporting that their daughter had sent sexually inappropriate photographs and a video through a social media chat room.
The 13-year-old female met a 16-year-old male online and both began to correspond. During the course of conversing, the male asked for explicit photographs and videos of the female which were ultimately sent.
The OPP is concerned about the safety of those involved, and wants to create a greater awareness about the issue and what can be done if a teen finds themselves overwhelmed with the reality of their actions.
There has been a marked increase in the number of reports involving youth sending and requesting sexually explicit images or videos over the internet, or text messaging. This is called self-peer exploitation. It is also known as sexting.
Teens need to realize the long and short term dangers of sending out photographs of themselves. Those who distribute it also need to be aware of the criminal ramifications of doing so.
Parents should be prepared to offer their children some information about who they can turn to if they need help.
The Canadian Centre for Child Protection is a national charitable organization dedicated to the personal safety of children, with a goal to reduce child victimization. They are a great resource, and have many links to information that is helpful to parents, educators and teens themselves.
The Centre also has a tip line to report online sexual exploitation called Cybertip.ca. Cybertip.ca is developing and disseminating effective intervention and prevention practices to reach a variety of stakeholders.
“Everyone needs to realize the long and short term dangers of sending out photographs and videos of themselves. Those who distribute it also need to be aware of the criminal ramifications of doing so. Once it’s out there, you can’t get it back and you should not be embarrassed to speak to police about your concerns.” – Constable Ed Sanchuk, Norfolk County OPP.