Staying on top of emerging online risks can be a challenge for parents/guardians. New apps and sites are always emerging, known sites regularly change their protection features and those looking to harm youth are finding new ways to connect and manipulate children and youth. Below you will find information about online dangers and what you and your child can do about them.
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Cyberbullying is an extreme form of bullying among youth through technology. It is abusive, targeted, deliberate and repeated behaviour intended to harm another person. Sometimes sexual images and videos are created and distributed as a form of bullying.
Remind your teen to:
Online luring commonly refers to the process through which someone with a sexual interest in children prepares a child for future sexual contact. The Criminal Code (Canada) defines a luring offence as someone using telecommunications (e.g., chat, messaging, texting) to communicate with someone they believe to be under the age of 18 years in order to commit a designated offence against that child.
Self/peer exploitation (also known more generally as “sexting”) refers to youth creating, sending or sharing sexual images and/or videos with peers online or through electronic devices.
To help prevent a self/peer exploitation incident:
If your teen has been involved in a self/peer exploitation incident:
The non-consensual distribution of intimate images refers to the sharing of an “intimate” image or video of another person without their consent. If the image or video involves someone under 18, it may be illegal to distribute regardless of whether consent was provided.
If the picture or video is not yet online (or if your teen does not know if it’s online):
If the picture or video is already online:
Sextortion involves individuals coercing youth into sending sexual images or engaging in sexual acts via a camera-enabled device. These individuals then blackmail the youth by threatening to distribute the sexual images or videos if the youth does not provide more or pay them. The use of live-streaming services has increased the vulnerability of youth to this type of exploitation because youth can be recorded without their knowledge and then blackmailed.
Youth are exposed to sexually explicit material on the Internet. Some youth intentionally seek it out as they are sexually curious. In seeking out information on the Internet, they can be exposed to graphic and potentially harmful material that can influence their development of attitudes and beliefs about sexual relationships.
To help reduce the chance of your teen accessing pornography:
* Given there is such a wide range of software available for parents, and they all come with different benefits and risks, we are unable to provide any specific recommendations regarding software available for protecting children online. Most devices/browsers do provide the option to use parental controls to block access to sites flagged as being for individuals over 18; however, the available options will depend on the type of device and what browser (Safari, Google Chrome, etc.) is being used to access the internet. Most devices also offer parental controls to limit the type of apps that can be downloaded on the device.
However, don’t rely solely on these settings. Having parental controls on does not guarantee completely safe viewing. Parental supervision is still key.
If you notice your teen is in distress and you suspect it’s from viewing sexually explicit material:
For more information, see Additional Information.