RCMP in Penticton have seen an alarming increase in the number of youth reporting having been victims of online sex-related extortion tactics.
Police say the increase in reports of predators building trust with children online and later requesting to engage in explicit behaviour is “alarming” and there is a need for parents to become aware.
The extortion tactic includes predators recording the explicit behaviour and threatening to publicly release the imagery unless they are paid a sum of money.
“Unfortunately, many of the common social media apps youth are using today can be used to exploit them,” said Const. James Grandy of the RCMP.
“We want to educate youth and their guardians of the potential for this kind of situation to occur, and to remind them that any photo or video they may share stays online and could be used against them in the future.”
RCMP added that with the school year coming to a close and children having more time on their electronic devices, they are more likely to become victims of exploitation.
For more information on how to protect children from online exploitation, people are asked to protectkidsonline.ca.