SURREY — Roughly 15 per cent of all cases investigated by the Surrey RCMP’s Youth Unit involve social media, the city’s police chief told a recent victim services conference that focussed on on-line child exploitation.
The conference, Innocence Gone in Seconds: Responding to Child and Youth Exploitation, was held in Surrey on Oct. 24.
Surrey RCMP Chief Supt. Bill Fordy also noted that almost 10 per cent of cases the youth intervention program deals with involve online activity.
“The Internet is not a thing, its a place — it’s a place full of doing a lot of great things, but also some extremely bad things,” Fordy noted. “Policing the Internet, in short, is extremely difficult, as it is a place where anonymity reigns.”
The Surrey RCMP has some tips for parents and people who work with children. One is to discuss Internet safety and the benefits and risks of being online. Cybertip.ca has “age-appropriate” tools for parents and teachers.
It’s also a good idea to set an example by unplugging from computers and smart phones every once in awhile because, clearly there is more to life. Police also recommend that parents and educators sign up for Cybertip.ca Alerts to stay informed on the latest trends.
The Surrey RCMP also has tips for children. Know the risks, police advise, be cautious about what personal details you share online because this information could later be used against you. Also, be aware that people online are not always who they say they are.
Once you share a photo or video online, it is out of your control.
Children having a problem with someone online can turn to a parent, guardian or school official for help and report Internet-related crimes to the Surrey RCMP non-emergency number at 604-599-0502. Police advise that the website needhelpnow.ca can teach you what do do if you are negatively affected by a photo or video of yourself that has been shared online.