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Ontario police show parents how quickly online predators attack

By KJ Mullins     Mar 18, 2011 in Crime
Whitby - The 14-year-old girl was in a chat room for just a few seconds when male strangers struck up a conversation with her. The men, some claiming to be 27, wanted to know if she had a web camera, where she lived and offered to share photo links with her.
The young girl was fictional but the events were very real and very shocking for a group attending the Internet Safety seminar held by Ontario's Durham District School Board at Sinclair Secondary School in Whitby with help from officers of the Durham Regional Police Service Sexual Assault Unit.
The officers showed the parents, caregivers and teens attending how quickly it takes when teens sign into a chat room for predators to circle their prey. A whopping 69 percent of teens get personal messages when they go online from people they don't know. What's more frightening is that the teens tend not to trust or tell the adults in their lives about this.
It's not just chat rooms where teens are facing dangers online. Officers showed the audience how quick and easy it is to infiltrate a Facebook page, learn critical information about a young female and find their actual residence on Google Maps.
DRPS wrapped up the event with sound advice. Keep computers in open spaces at home and know your teen's online habits. Talking to your friends without yelling inform them about the realities of the Internet.
Let your kids know that passing a compromising photo of an underage girl is illegal. Having possession of or sharing that image can come with the heavy price of being charged with criminally with possession and distribution of child pornography.
Let them know what they put on the Internet can come back to haunt them in the future. Many employers now check social media sites on potential new hires. Bragging about underage partying does not sit well with a new boss.
Sharing photos may be fun but once it's on the Internet it is live throughout the world forever.
Finally log chats that your child is involved in so that any bullying, threatening and criminal acts are recorded.
The following sites have online resources about the potential perils of the Internet.
More about Internet Safety, Teenagers, Internet risks
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