ICE promotes online awareness for Safer Internet Day


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:

  • Teach your child to check with you before chatting/texting with anyone. Online activities should always be supervised by a parent or safe adult.
  • Explain to your child if someone asks them to chat/text, they should come tell you or a safe adult about it right away.
  • Reinforce the idea that not everyone is who they say they are online. People can pretend to be older or younger than they actually are or they can misuse information, photos or videos you share with them.
  • Tell your child that if they come across something or someone while chatting/messaging/texting that makes them feel uncomfortable, they can tell you without fear of getting in trouble or losing online privileges.
  • Explain if someone asks them something that seems “weird” to stop chatting with the person and to share what happened with you.

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.

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.