ALERT talks image sharing and luring on International Safer Internet Day

ALERT talks image sharing and luring on International Safer Internet Day

February 5, 2013


Edmonton…ALERT’s Internet Child Exploitation (ICE) units are using International Safer Internet Day as an opportunity to remind the public to keep online safety top of mind throughout the year.

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

In 2012, ICE investigated over 440 new cases of Internet-related child exploitation and laid over 300 charges against 72 people province-wide. Investigators are seeing a higher volume of files involving image sharing via the Internet, as well as online luring.

“The ways in which kids access the Internet and their online activity continue to evolve,” explained Sgt. Mike Lokken of ALERT’s northern ICE unit. “As a result, teaching online safety is even more critical to prevent harm against children.”

Here a few tips to help reduce the risk of online luring.

  • Do not give out personal information to strangers online.
  • Keep in mind that people are not always who they say they are online.
  • If someone you don’t know approaches you or makes you uncomfortable online, tell your parents.
  • Predators use threats to gain control over children. Tell someone if you are being threatened, and know that complying with their demands is unlikely to prevent a predator from making further threats.
  • Never agree to meet someone in person that you have met online without first discussing it with your parents.

When it comes to sharing images through text messaging, email or social media, investigators advise youth against it. Some reminders regarding image sharing are as follows:

  • Once you send a picture online, you have no control over it. You cannot control the recipient’s actions once he or she receives your photo.
  • Pictures are never completely removed from the Internet.
  • Creating, possessing and distributing sexually explicit images of someone under the age of 18 are illegal. Engaging in these activities can result in criminal charges.

“Issues related to ‘sexting’ are something we are seeing more frequently, with young people not understanding the consequences of sending, receiving or forwarding nude or explicit images,” said S/Sgt. Greg Johnson of ALERT’s southern ICE unit. “When you share a nude or explicit image of someone under the age of 18, you are sexually exploiting that person and can be charged with child pornography offences. Our intent here is not to scare kids, but to make them think twice before they share these types of images.”

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, 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.


Media inquiries may be directed to:
S/Sgt. Greg Johnson
Southern Internet Child Exploitation Unit
Alberta Law Enforcement Response Teams (ALERT)

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

Jill Baird
Alberta Law Enforcement Response Teams (ALERT)