(ESPANOLA, ON) – The Manitoulin Detachment of the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) is currently investigating the distribution of sexually inappropriate photographs and a video transmitted through social media.
The OPP is concerned about the safety of those involved, and wants to create a greater awareness about the issue and what can be done if a teen finds themselves overwhelmed with the reality of their actions. There has been a marked increase in the number of reports involving youth sending and requesting sexually explicit images or videos over the internet or text messaging. This is called self-peer exploitation. It is also known as sexting.
Teens need to realize the long and short term dangers of sending out photographs of themselves. Those who distribute the photographs also need to be aware of the criminal ramifications of doing so.
Often parents do not know that their kids are involved in this behaviour, and it can be difficult to determine. Parents are encouraged to have honest and frank discussions with their kids about what self-peer exploitation is, and explain that the images can often end up somewhere they may not want them to be. Be prepared to offer them some information about who they can speak to if they need help.
The Canadian Centre for Child Protection is a national charitable organization dedicated to the personal safety of children, with a goal to reduce child victimization. They are a great resource, and have many links to information that is helpful to parents, educators and teens themselves. The Centre also has a tip line to report online sexual exploitation located at www.Cybertip.ca. Cybertip.ca is developing and disseminating effective intervention and prevention practices to reach a variety of stakeholders.
Everyone needs to realize the long and short term dangers of sending out photographs and videos of themselves. Those who distribute these pic/videos also need to be aware that there are criminal consequences for doing so. Once it’s out there, you can’t get it back and you should not be embarrassed to speak to police about your concerns.
The Manitoulin OPP would like to remind the public that the non-consensual distribution of an intimate image/video is a serious Criminal Offence that can deeply impact all involved. As well, in cases where the image/video depicts a person under the age of 18, it can constitute a criminal offence in relation to Child Pornography.
The OPP remains committed to ensuring the public is aware of the many potential threats to public/personal safety in the real and virtual world, and encourages everyone to ensure their online presence is as safe as it can be.