ALERT encourages everyone to surf with caution on Safer Internet Day

ALERT encourages everyone to surf with caution on Safer Internet Day

February 7, 2012

Edmonton… In line with Safer Internet Day, ALERT’s Internet Child Exploitation (ICE) units are reminding the public to stay safe while engaging in online activities.

ICE combines the efforts of police members from the RCMP, Edmonton Police Service, Calgary Police Service, Medicine Hat Police Service, Lethbridge Regional Police Service, and civilian employees of ALERT, who work together to investigate the sexual exploitation of children through the Internet and reduce harm through public education and prevention programs.

In 2011, ICE investigated over 400 new cases of Internet-related child exploitation, and laid 200 charges against 71 people province-wide.

“The Internet is a great resource, but it can also be a dangerous place for our children,” explained Staff Sergeant Steve Lorne of ALERT’s southern ICE unit. “We want parents to take some simple measures to help protect their kids when they’re online. We also want to encourage people to report suspicious activity, as those tips can prove invaluable in stopping online predators.”

A few easy steps will go a long way in reducing the potential for harm related to the Internet.

For Youth

  • Do not give out personal information to strangers online.
  • If someone you don’t know approaches you or makes you uncomfortable online, tell your parents.
  • Keep in mind that people are not always who they say they are online.
  • Never agree to meet someone in person that you have met online without first discussing it with your parents.
  • Remember that nothing you write or post online is completely private.

For Parents

  • Keep your family’s computer in a high-traffic area of your home. Ask your child about their online activities.
  • Think carefully about where you put your webcam – avoid locations where personal or identifying information is visible. Always unplug your webcam when it’s not in use.
  • Get to know chat room and web-related slang. Ask your child to explain it to you.
  • Remember that many gaming systems are connected to the Internet – monitor their use like a computer.
  • Set an example for your children by following the rules you set out for them. Be careful of what personal information you give out and what files you download.

“We have a very active team of dedicated police members throughout this province who work every day to identify and arrest child predators,” said Sgt. Mike Lokken of ALERT’s northern ICE unit. “Technology is helping us locate online predators more easily, so no one should feel safe from detection.”

For more tips, parents and kids can visit the ALERT website where they will find information and links to various resources on how to better ensure their safety while online. The public can submit tips through www.cybertip.ca, a national website for reporting the online sexual exploitation of children.

ICE is an ALERT team established and funded by the Government of Alberta to bring together the province’s most sophisticated law enforcement resources to tackle serious and organized crime. Over 400 municipal police, RCMP and sheriffs work for ALERT.

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Media inquiries may be directed to:
S/Sgt. Steve Lorne
Southern Internet Child Exploitation Unit
Alberta Law Enforcement Response Teams (ALERT)
403-428-4901

Sgt. Mike Lokken
Northern Internet Child Exploitation Unit
Alberta Law Enforcement Response Teams (ALERT)
780-509-3362

Jill Baird
Communications
Alberta Law Enforcement Response Teams (ALERT)
780-509-3028

Members of the public who suspect drug or gang activity in their community can call local police, or contact Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477).
Crime Stoppers is always anonymous.

ALERT was established and is funded by the Alberta Government and is a compilation of the province’s most sophisticated law enforcement resources committed to tackling serious and organized crime.