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Surrey RCMP report 122% increase in child pornography cases in 3 years

“Children and young people can be especially vulnerable to exploitation and luring because they are unaware of the potential for predatory sexual behaviour,” said Staff Sergeant Lyndsay O’Ruairc of the Surrey RCMP Vulnerable Persons Section.
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RCMP add that child luring incidents often take place after a sexual predator has engaged with a child or young person in an online relationship. Photo: hands typing in dark room / Getty Images

Surrey RCMP is warning parents and guardians to take measures to protect their children from online predators as the city has seen a staggering growth in the number of child pornography related reports. 

RCMP add that more children have turned to online activities as physical and social interactions have adjusted to help stop the spread of COVID-19, which means that parents and guardians must be vigilant. 

Over the past three years, the Surrey RCMP Special Victims Unit reports a staggering increase in the number of child pornography related reports rising from 55 reports in 2017, to 122 reports in 2019. 

There has also been a persistent number of reports related to child luring, with 19 reports in 2017, 16 in 2018, and 18 in 2019. RCMP say that in some cases, "children and young people are lured into exposing themselves in photos, videos, or on live webcams, where screenshots are then taken of them. The perpetrators of these crimes often use the threat of exposing the nude images to the child’s family and friends, to extort more photos, videos or to lure the child into other sexual activity."

RCMP add that child luring incidents often take place after a sexual predator has engaged with a child or young person in an online relationship. Over time, the predator gains the child's trust and convinces them to meet in person to engage in sexual activity. They add that, "Sexual predators are experts at convincing children and young people to participate in activity that would otherwise be out of character for the child." 

Sexual predators use a process called grooming to form a relationship, trust and emotional connection with a child or young person so they can manipulate, exploit and abuse them. Groomers may also build a relationship with the young person's family or friends to make them seem trustworthy or authoritative.

“Children and young people can be especially vulnerable to exploitation and luring because they are unaware of the potential for predatory sexual behaviour,” said Staff Sergeant Lyndsay O’Ruairc of the Surrey RCMP Vulnerable Persons Section.

“With the risk for grooming by pedophiles and child pornographers, children rely on their parents and caregivers to be a first line of defence against hidden dangers online.“

A measure of healthy vigilance can go a long way to keep the children and young people in your family safe online. Here are some tips and considerations:

Keep an open dialogue.
Let your kids know they can come to you if they feel uncomfortable with an online interaction or if they shared an image online they regret. Visit NeedHelpNow.ca for what to do if a sexual picture or video has been shared online.

Cameras and webcams.
Do you know what photos your child is taking? Parents may consider setting up “sharing” between all family devices for photos and downloads so they can easily view how cameras are being used.

Video game consoles and multiplayer platforms.
Who is playing and communicating/interacting with your kids while they are gaming? Some of the popular gaming and messaging apps connect youth with complete strangers.

Know what apps your child has downloaded.
Are there messaging, chat or webcam features? Is there an ability for strangers to connect with them? Sign up for Cybertip.ca alerts to receive the latest trends.

Report suspicious online activity to police.
When in doubt, give your local police a call. In Surrey, you can call the Surrey RCMP non-emergency number at 604-599-0502 to report or, online.

Internet safety can be an overwhelming topic for many parents. However, it’s so important to not only start the conversation but keep it going. Not sure how? Check out ProtectKidsOnline.ca. You can also keep up with the latest online trends among youth by signing up for Cybertip alerts



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