Edmonton/Calgary… On Safer Internet Day, February 9, ALERT’s Internet Child Exploitation (ICE) unit is asking parents and young people to be more aware of their online activities and who they are communicating with.
This past year, ICE experienced a record number of new investigations with over 2,100 intakes; an increase of more than 50% from the previous year.
“The pandemic has produced new standards of social engagement and digital learning, but we must confront the dark reality that there is no shortage of online predators looking to exploit and harm your children.”
Supt. Dwayne Lakusta, ALERT CEO
ICE has responded to the surge with 127 arrests and 399 charges laid in 2020 province-wide, however, the unit is asking for help from parents.
“Policing the internet is an impossible task. By the time our unit gets involved the offence has already happened, and that’s why we are trying to get parents to play a more proactive role in protecting their children.”
Sgt. Kerry Shima, ICE
The Canadian Centre for Child Protection offers a number of resources for parents and youth, including helpful tips for safeguarding against unwanted interactions:
The Canadian Centre for Child Protection is a national charity dedicated to the personal safety of all children. To find out more, including age-specific online safety recommendations, visit: www.protectkidsonline.ca
Safer Internet Day (SID) is an international event taking place in February every year. It promotes a safer and a more responsible use of online technology by children and young people across the world.
Anyone with information about online child exploitation offence is encouraged to contact local police or cybertip.ca.
ICE is an integrated team that includes members of Calgary Police, Edmonton Police, Lethbridge Police, and Medicine Hat Police, RCMP, and civilian professional staff. ICE investigates offences involving child pornography, any computer-related child sexual abuse, child luring over the Internet, voyeurism involving victims under the age of 18, and child sex trade/tourism.