Edmonton… On Safer Internet Day, Alberta Law Enforcement Response Teams (ALERT) is asking parents and young people to be more aware of the risks and consequences involved with online image sharing.
Last year ALERT’s Integrated Child Exploitation (ICE) unit investigated over 500 instances of internet-related child exploitation and laid over 300 charges against more than 100 people province-wide. Investigators are reporting an increase in child exploitation offences, especially related to online luring and image sharing.
Thousands of child pornography images and videos are downloaded in the province every day. Many of those instances are the result of redistributed photos taken by youth who falsely believe they are sharing it in a private manner. ICE advises youth against sharing images through text messaging, email, and social media, and offers some precautions concerning image sharing:
ICE encourages anyone with information about online child exploitation to help protect children by reporting their concerns to Cybertip.ca.
Additional resources can be accessed via the ALERT website (www.alert-ab.ca), or visit The Door That’s Not Locked website (www.thedoorthatsnotlocked.ca), a comprehensive resource with age-specific internet safety information by the Canadian Centre for Child Protection.
ICE investigates the sexual exploitation of children through the internet and reduces harm through public education and prevention programs. ICE works collaboratively with police members from the RCMP, Edmonton Police Service, Calgary Police Service, Medicine Hat Police Service, and Lethbridge Regional Police Service. ALERT is established and funded by the Government of Alberta to tackle serious and organized crime.