More reports to tip line during pandemic: Cybertip
A person works on a laptop in North Andover, Mass., June 19, 2017 file photo. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Elise Amendola)
WINNIPEG -- With more kids spending time at home and on their devices, Canada’s tip line to report the online sexual exploitation of children is seeing a significant increase in reports.
According to Catherine Tabak, Cybertip.ca program manager at the Canadian Centre for Child Protection, the tip line has started to see a 40 per cent spike in the last couple of weeks, something that was expected based on what law enforcement has been reporting across Canada.
About 98 per cent of reports the tip line receives involve online child sexual images or videos, but currently they are seeing an increase in reports that include identifying information about a victim or suspect.
“Typically what we would’ve seen on average is about six reports per day, which would’ve included possible suspect or victim information, and now we’re looking at anywhere from 10-plus per day,” she said, noting that reports mostly come from youths, as well as parents and people coming across the situations online.
Tabak said the types of reports they are generally getting right now that are related to possible suspect/victim information fall into three categories: sextortion, luring and grooming offences, and youth being exposed to sexually explicit materials.
“Whether that be on common apps that they’re using or through online games, that sort of thing,” she said.
To keep kids safe, experts recommend restricting the use of devices to common areas of the home. They also recommmend taking devices away or cutting off Wi-fi at night.
“I think this is a good opportunity to start that conversation, if it hasn’t already been started in the home, about online safety considerations and risks and consequences related to communication with people that you don’t know,” Tabak said.