Winnipeg, MB: With more youth spending time online during the pandemic, there has been an 88% increase in reports to Cybertip.ca, Canada’s tipline for reporting the online sexual exploitation of children, including a form a victimization called sextortion.
For Safer Internet Day, the Canadian Centre for Child Protection (C3P), which operates Cybertip.ca, has launched a series of videos for youth. These short clips address what sextortion is, how it can happen, and how youth can get help, while the accompanying website offers prevention material for families and educators to help protect youth from being victimized.
Simply put, sextortion is blackmail. It’s when someone online threatens to send a sexual image or video of the child/youth to other people if they don’t pay the person or provide more sexual content.
On average, Cybertip.ca receives 40 sextortion reports a month. Many of the reports involve offenders connecting with youth through social media and live stream platforms like Snapchat, Google Hangouts, Facebook Messenger, and Omegle. It is shame, guilt, and fear that keeps youth from telling anyone they are being sextorted, so the number of reports do not necessarily reflect the true scope of this growing problem.
“We want to remind youth they don’t have to deal with difficult online situations alone. There is help,” says Signy Arnason, Associate Executive for C3P, adding contacting Cybertip.ca is a good place to start if youth are in crisis. “Cybertip.ca can help youth gain back control of the situation, including the removal of images or videos posted online.”
Cybertip.ca also provides families and educators with prevention information regarding how sextortion can happen, talking points to have with youth about the issue, and how to help a youth who’s been sextorted.
Cybertip.ca offers five steps to take if a youth is being sextorted:
For more information and resources, visit cybertip.ca/sextortion.
About the Canadian Centre for Child Protection: The Canadian Centre for Child Protection is a national charity dedicated to the personal safety of children. Our goal is to reduce the sexual abuse and exploitation of children, assist in the location of missing children, and to prevent child victimization. The Canadian Centre operates Cybertip.ca — Canada’s tipline for reporting child sexual abuse and exploitation on the internet, as well as other intervention, prevention and education services to the Canadian public.
About Safer Internet Day: Safer Internet Day is celebrated globally in February each year to promote the safe and positive use of digital technology for children and young people and inspire a national conversation.