RCMP warn parents to monitor kids' online activity after N.B. incidents
The RCMP is warning parents of young children to check their online activity.
It comes after the Mounties discovered children between the ages of eight and 12 years old were voluntarily sharing nude images of themselves.
As a parent, there are steps you can take to both protect and educate your kids.
“My child wouldn't do that,” is likely the reaction some parents have when they hear a story of a child sharing an intimate image of themselves, but it's the reality four New Brunswick families are facing.
RCMP say the children are between the ages of eight and 12, and they each shared a nude picture or video of themself online in the past couple months.
“While this may be shocking, it's really a statement about the world we live in where people are online much more so than they used to be,” said Nova Scotia RCMP spokeswoman Cpl. Jennifer Clarke. “And parents of children need to be aware of what their kids are doing online.”
The RCMP are encouraging parents to keep an eye on their kids' online activity
And there are some gadgets that may help.
“Parents can limit internet access by perhaps using a device that will affect what kids are able to see on the Wi-Fi in the home,” Clarke said. “You can also monitor the settings of the device itself or you can also monitor or change your internet service provider settings.”
One of those devices is an amazing little gadget that pairs with your Wi-Fi and lets you control every device in your home. It’s a gadget to control other gadgets.
Cyber expert David Shipley says internet service providers should consider adding these tools as part of their packages.
“Let's make 2019 the year we start getting a handle on this,” Shipley said. “We can't just simply treat the computer like we treated the television as a surrogate parent because it opens a world of bad and a world of good. You don't want your child growing up in a traumatic experience.”
Shipley is a cyber security expert who's had parents contact him looking for help.
He says recent studies show 60 per cent of people under the age of 30 have created an intimate image of themself.
According to Shipley once a photo is even taken, it can make its way out there.
“It's not an effective strategy to simply say ‘well, people shouldn't do it,’” he said. “I think for parents its critical to have these conversations as soon as possible, obviously with cases involving eight year olds and others, no time is too early to talk about protecting yourself online.”
He says don't put these devices -- computers, laptops, webcams -- in children's bedrooms unsupervised.
It's also important to remember that sharing intimate images without someone’s consent is illegal.
With files from CTV Atlantic’s Laura Brown.