The lockdown has boosted cases of children being sexually exploited on the Internet globally. A La Presse investigation published on April 13, 2020, revealed that “websites used by predators around the world to share tens of thousands of child pornography images are hosted on the computer servers of large companies located in Quebec”. Although the latter disclaim all responsibility by claiming not to have access to the content, experts argue that they must collaborate and lift the veil on illegal content on their servers.
Although Canadian law states that all persons providing Internet services must report to the police all incidents of child pornography of which they are aware (Cybertip), there is no obligation to detect such images.
This is not without reassurance to parents of children and adolescents, who have seen their children spend much more time on screens in the past year. Faced with this scourge generating more and more victims, what can we do, as a parental figure, to reduce the risks of sexual exploitation of our children on the web? Here are some tips and resources to help you.
Some facts and stats
- The Canadian Center for Child Protection (CCPE) launched Project Arachnid in 2016, with the goal of reducing the availability of child sex abuse photos and videos globally.
- Project Arachnid scans the web and currently detects more than 100,000 different images per month, which are then verified by an analyst.
- As of April 1, 2021, Project Arachnid’s platform had over 126 billion processed images, of which 37.3 million were held for human analysis, and 6.9 million removal requests had been sent to vendors.
- 85% of the requests concerned victims not identified by the police.
- The victims of cyber sexual exploitation are increasingly young (La Presse, December 9, 2020).
- According to Cybertip, the dangers that threaten tweens and teens are: sextortion, sexting, live video, cyberbullying and non-consensual dissemination of intimate images.
Some basic tips to reduce the risks:
- Place the computer in a family place;
- Exercise control over your child’s online activities;
- Establish rules around apps, social media, online games and search engines;
- Make sure that the tools used by the child are appropriate for their age (access to images, videos or information not adapted to the child’s age can be traumatic);
- Remind your child never to post texts, photos or comments that they do not want to see on the Internet forever;
- Remind your child to behave well in front of others on the Internet and to tell a trusted adult if they witness or experience bullying;
- Remind your child to never follow people they don’t know in real life (just like with social media friend requests) and to check with a trusted adult if they receive a request. ‘a stranger ;
- Maintain an atmosphere conducive to dialogue with your child. Remind him that he can ask you for help anytime without worrying about consequences;
- Stay alert to changes (behavior, attitude, sleep, disrespecting screen time, etc.).
Finally, as a parent or guardian, stay up to date both digitally and on the issue of child sexual abuse.
If you believe your child is in immediate danger: 911
To make a report: Cyberaide.ca/signalement or 1 866 658-9022
Guide for families: Cyberaide.ca/autoexploitation_juvenile
ParentsCyberAvertis: a wealth of information to help parents with children of all ages:
AidezMoiSVP.ca: for teens
Enfants avertis: for teachers and parents
For more information:
Marie-Vincent Foundation: marie-vincent.org
The Parents Line: 1 800 361-5085
Priority Parents: fqocf.org/parents/priorite-parents
The CAVAC network: cavac.qc.ca or 1 866 532-2822 (toll free)
Provincial Sexual Assault Line: 1 888 933-9007
Kids Help Phone: 1-800-668-6868
To read more: Blue Bear at the cutting edge of forensic technology