Presentation: Online Child Sexual Exploitation - What parents and caregivers need to know
1 - Presentation: Online Child Sexual Exploitation - What parents and caregivers need to know
2 - About me
Presenter info: Who you are and why you’re presenting
My name is ______, I’m a _______ teacher at _______. I’m giving this presentation to help prevent the online sexual exploitation of children.
I understand that this is a difficult subject to talk about, and some of this content may be tough to absorb. We’ll be providing more resources at the end of this presentation. If you suspect your child or a child you know may be in danger, those resources will point you in the right direction to get help.
3 - 1 in 10 children in Canada are sexually victimized before they turn 18
Child sexual abuse is much more common than we’d like to believe. 1 in 10 children in Canada are sexually victimized before they turn 18.1
Sometimes this involves physical contact, other times not — it can be in person, or from a distance.
With changes in technology, more and more predators are taking child abuse online. In fact, between 2014 and 2020, Cybertip.ca processed over 4.3 million child sexual exploitation reports 2. Nearly 1 in 4 parents have come across inappropriate online behaviour aimed at their child 3. We can only begin to solve this problem as a country if we learn more about it. And that’s what we’re talking about today.
1. Cybertip.ca – https://www.cybertip.ca/app/en/child_sexual_abuse-grooming
2. Cybertip.ca – https://www.cybertip.ca/app/en/about-our_results
3. Child Sexual Exploitation Public Awareness Research. Public Safety Canada, 2020 – https://epe.lac-bac.gc.ca/100/200/301/pwgsc-tpsgc/por-ef/public_safety_canada/2020/018-19-e/index.html
4 - What is online child sexual exploitation?
There have always been people who prey on vulnerable youth. But now, the internet can help them do it anonymously and from a distance. Online child sexual exploitation is when children are tricked into seeing or participating in online encounters of a sexual nature. Online child sexual exploitation is a growing problem across Canada, and parents need to be aware of what it is, how to protect children from it, and how to teach them to recognize potential risks and stay safe online.
Online child sexual exploitation can come in many forms. Today, we’ll be talking about four of the most prevalent: online grooming, sexual images and videos, capping, and sexting and sextortion.
5 - Why are youth vulnerable?
- They are less cautious when using technology
- They may be embarrassed or afraid to tell someone
- They want to be liked and fit in
- They may be ill-prepared to deal with complex situations
- They may not fully understand what sex is*
Youth are vulnerable to being lured or victimized online as their behaviour is less inhibited when they use technology.
Even older youth are not developmentally ready to handle the complex situations that can arise online — ones that initially seem friendly, but are sexual or pressuring in nature.
They might be intrigued and flattered by these conversations and continue to engage, believing it to be harmless. Or, they may believe that they are in a real romantic relationship with the online individual and want to meet in person.
It’s very important to talk about the risks associated with using technology to experiment sexually, especially with older teens. It can be hard for teens to seek adult assistance if they’re embarrassed or scared, so teens will often comply with online threats in an effort to manage the situation on their own — which could place the teen in an even more harmful situation.
*Lastly, and particularly with younger children and tweens, they may not know enough about sex to understand that something they’re being asked to do is wrong. That’s why it’s especially important to talk to children of all ages about the risks associated with using technology, and have open conversations about what your kids are doing online.
6 - PSA Video
Never Alone - Online Child Sexual Exploitation - YouTube
Before we start, I’m going to show you a PSA ad spot that is part of the campaign to bring awareness to the issue of online child sexual exploitation to parents and caregivers. It is available on the Government of Canada website at canada.ca/child-exploitation (I’ll share this URL again at the end of this presentation), so feel free to watch it again or share it.
7 – Agenda
- Online grooming
- Sexual images and videos
- Sexting and sextortion
- Recognizing the signs
- How you can support your children
8 - Online grooming
9 - What is online grooming?
This might be a new term for you, so for those of you who aren’t familiar: online grooming is when someone builds trust with a child or teen, and sometimes the adults around them, to gain access to and control the child by normalizing certain behaviours and expectations.
Adults with harmful intentions can use the Internet to become “friends” with children and teens, developing strong personal relationships over days, weeks, or even months. They might pretend to be another teen, or act as a mentor or authority figure to them. They might just stay “friends” with the child, or attempt to make the relationship “romantic” — all to try to gain control and prepare them for future sexual contact.
Once trust has been established, someone grooming an adolescent will try to trick, confuse or pressure the youth into doing what they want. They will try to gain control through things like embarrassment, threats or making the youth feel stuck in the situation. Then, they may send the youth sexually explicit material, ask sexual questions or talk about sexual acts to make them more comfortable talking about sex.
10 - Your kids need to know what online grooming is
What your kids are learning:
Grooming is when someone acts like your friend, girlfriend, or boyfriend, to try and make you do things like talk about sex or send videos or images of yourself without your clothes on.
Sometimes, grooming takes place over a long period of time, over multiple conversations – and it can put you in a harmful situation.
The definition we’re teaching your kids is:
Grooming is when someone acts like your friend, girlfriend, or boyfriend, to try and make you do things like talk about sex or send videos or images of yourself without your clothes on.
Sometimes, grooming takes place over a long period of time, over multiple conversations — and it can put you in a harmful situation.
11 - Your kids need to know where online grooming happens
- Social media apps
- Dating apps
- Online communities
- Text messages or online chats
- Online games where users message or talk to each other
- Livestreaming apps
Youth need to know that online grooming can happen anywhere you can interact with others online — even if they feel anonymous or comfortable on the website.
12 - Your kids need to know how online grooming works
- An adult or another youth approaches a youth online
- They build a friendly relationship with the youth, possibly giving gifts or compliments
- Talk eventually turns toward the youth’s body or sex
- They may ask the youth for sexual images or videos,
or to meet in person
- They may threaten or put pressure on the youth
- Every instance of online grooming is different, but they often follow a similar pattern. Grooming starts out with an adult reaching out to a youth online. They may be someone the youth knows, or they might use a fake profile to pretend to be younger than they are.
- From there, an offender may be friendly and generous. They may want a lot of the youth’s attention right away. They might create an us-versus-them mentality with the youth, telling the youth that they are the only one who understands their problems or that their parents are too strict or don’t understand them. They might exploit existing relationships with the youth’s friends or online groups.
They may also talk about the youth’s interests and maybe give gifts or compliments. These gifts might not be physical things, either: they could be character skins in video games, digital copies of video games or subscriptions to online services like Spotify. They might make promises of a better life, a loving relationship, or gifts, money, drugs or alcohol in the future.
- But eventually, it usually leads down the same path: the offender will start talking about the youth’s body or sex. A common way to do this is by asking about the youth’s experiences — like whether they’re familiar with certain sexual acts, or if they’ve noticed certain changes in their bodies.
- This could lead to them asking for sexual images or videos, or requesting to meet in person. The offender may also send the child sexual images in an effort to get them to reciprocate.
- If the youth doesn’t do what the offender asks, they might threaten the youth. This could mean threatening to end the “friendship” they’ve developed, or, if they’ve already sent any sexual images or videos, threatening to share them with friends or family.
13 - How can they protect themselves?
Youth need to be made aware that there are people who will try to take advantage of them online, so they can make smart, safe choices. Make sure they know how to update their privacy settings on every social media and website to keep their private information private. They should always be skeptical of friends they make online, and know not to treat online friends the same way they’d treat their real ones — like by accepting gifts, sharing personal information or arranging to meet up.
But most importantly, youth need to know that their feelings matter. If they’re uncomfortable, following their gut is more important than being polite. It’s always okay to say no when something feels weird or wrong.
They should know that they can always turn to a safe adult if something is wrong, like a parent, another family member, a teacher or instructor, or law enforcement. Let them know, if they don’t want to talk to someone they know, they can report it at Cybertip.ca or to the police.
Lastly, let them know that they won’t get in trouble — grooming is never, ever the victim’s fault. The adult in a grooming situation is always the one to blame.
As a parent, talking to your kids about grooming is a difficult thing to do. Youth may be so deep into the grooming process that they believe it to be a real relationship, and could become defensive if you question it. They may hide the bigger picture, or straight up refuse to talk about it.
If you need more assistance or you believe your child is being groomed, visit Cybertip.ca for help and advice.
14 - Sexual images and videos
15 - What are we referring to?
When we say “sexual images and videos”, we’re talking about unwanted pornography or other sexual videos and images (not user-generated content of underage youth). It can be of real people, cartoon or computer generated. Youth might see it in an online ad, accidentally come across it in their internet searches, or be shown it by one of their friends.
That said, it’s also perfectly normal and healthy for youth to seek out these materials and explore sex and sexuality. The issue here is not that your child may be looking at nude images or pornography — that’s something youth, especially teenagers, just might do. But pornography can give youth the wrong idea about things like healthy relationships, sexuality, consent and their bodies, so it’s an important conversation to have with your kids.
16 - Your kids need to know what it is
What your children are learning:
As you spend more time online, you might come across pictures, videos, or other content that is not good for youth to see – content that might have even been meant to be private. This includes pornography or other sexual videos and images.
Here’s how we frame it for kids:
If you’re like most kids your age, you may spend a lot of time on connected devices — both at home and at school. It’s how you learn, have fun and connect with people. As you spend more time online, you might come across pictures, videos, or other content that is not good for youth to see--content that might have even been meant to be private. This includes pornography or other sexual videos and images.
17 - Your kids need to know where they might see them
- In a web search
- On an unrelated website
- On an app or social media
- While watching videos
- In online games
- In a text, chat or email
Youth might come across sexual images and video any time they’re connected to the internet.
It can show up while doing searches, especially if something is mistyped or if a common search term has a second, more adult meaning.
They can appear while visiting websites, especially in ads. Clickbait websites, which use enticing headlines to get people to click links and are major culprits for overt sexual advertising.
They can also come up while your child is browsing apps and social media, watching videos or playing games. Someone may even send it to them by text, chat or email.
18 - What kids should do if they come across sexual images or videos
Don’t share it
Tell a safe adult
Contact police if images or videos appear to involve someone under 18
If youth come across sexual images or videos, they need to know to not pass it on to other people – even their friends – because it may hurt or upset someone. The only time they should share sexual materials is when they are reporting them to a safe adult. If they feel comfortable, they can also contact the police that would advise them on next steps.
And if they’re ever upset, confused, or feel uncomfortable or in danger, youth should know that they can talk to their parents or another safe adult.
19 - What kids should do if it is sent to them
Don’t share it
Tell a safe adult
Break off contact
Nobody should be sending sexual content to a minor. Make sure your children know that, and that they can come to you or another safe adult if they’re ever sent sexual images or videos — remember to remind them that they won’t get in trouble, and they shouldn’t keep it a secret.
They should also know to break off contact with the person who sent them the sexual content — that that person isn’t their friend, and might even try to harm them. Make sure they know not to meet someone they meet online or do what they ask without talking to you first.
20 - Capping
21 - What is capping?
Capping is another relatively new way predators are exploiting young people online. To many youth, capping is slang for lying. But in this context, capping is when someone, typically an adult, records or screenshots boys and girls they target on various video streaming platforms or applications getting naked or engaging in sexual activities — often without the victim knowing they are recording the video chat. They may share this video with others, or use it to sexually extort their victim, referred to as sextortion.
22 - Your kids need to know what capping is
What your kids are learning:
When someone, usually an adult, records or screenshots you and your body and what you’re doing over a video call — often without you knowing they are recording.
It can happen when you are online on your device and it can put you in a harmful situation.
The definition we’re teaching your children is:
Capping is known as lying for many, but it can also mean when someone, usually an adult, records or screenshots you and your body and what you’re doing over a video call — often without you knowing they are recording. It can happen when you are on your computer, tablet, or phone, or when you’re playing games online, and it can put you in a harmful situation.
23 - Your kids need to know how capping works
- Your child is approached by someone online, sometimes pretending to be someone they are not
- They ask to chat or video chat privately
- They may use a “bait video” to trick them into talking
- They may trick or coerce your child into taking off
their clothes or engaging in sexual activities on camera
- They capture the video — very quickly
Cappers can use different methods and platforms, but here are some of the tactics they might use:
- Your child is approached by an individual pretending to be someone they are not — often someone around your child’s age
- They take your child to a private chat or less secure platform to video chat
- They often use video clips and specialized software to make a convincing “bait video” to trick your child into having a conversation with them
- They trick or coerce your child into taking off their clothes or engaging in sexual activities on camera, sometimes by promising to do the same
- They capture the video — cappers can be so fast that kids don’t even know it has happened to them
24 - Your kids need to know how can they can stay safe
- Know that people aren’t always who they appear to be
- Keep personal information private
- Don’t rush into doing thing someone else asks them to, like sending images of themselves to someone they haven't met before and don't know
- Trust their instincts
- If they feel like a situation is out of their control, talk to a safe adult
- Refuse to give in to someone who threatens them or doesn’t take “no” for an answer
- Block and/or break off contact with someone who makes them feel uncomfortable
- Tell a parent or a safe adult
- Reach out to KidsHelpPhone.ca, Cybertip.ca or NeedHelpNow.ca
Youth should be made aware that people may be trying to take advantage of them online, and they should protect themselves--here are some ways they can become safer online.
Know that people are not always who they appear to be.
Keep personal information private — like their full name, phone number, where they are and details about their life.
Don’t rush into doing things someone else asks them to — trust their instincts.
If they ever feel like a situation is out of their control, talk to a safe adult.
Refuse to give in to someone uttering threats or who doesn’t take “no” for an answer — persistence is often controlling and harmful behaviour.
Block or break off contact immediately — what the person is doing is illegal.
Tell their parent(s) or a safe adult.
They may not feel comfortable talking to you or anyone else they know, especially in person. If they don’t want to, or if they need additional help, they can reach out to KidsHelpPhone.ca, report it at Cybertip.ca, or get help removing images at NeedHelpNow.ca.
25 - Sexting and sextortion
26 - What is sexting?
Sexting has become a fairly mainstream topic in the past few years. And for adults, it can be in many cases a perfectly healthy way to express your sexuality.
In case you haven’t heard the term used, “sexting” is creating, sending or sharing sexual messages, images or videos with friends, people you know or even strangers online. It could be sending naked pictures of yourself or others, sharing a video of someone naked or having sex, or sending a text describing sexual acts.
For adults in a healthy relationship, this behavior might not seem dangerous. But for youth, who might lack the emotional maturity to handle the potential consequences of sexting, it can be harmful — what happens if the youth and the recipient have a falling out? What if sexual images of the teen are leaked to their friends and classmates? They need to know that once an image or video is sent, you won’t be able to control what happens to it.
27 - What is sextortion?
Plus, sexting can also open the door to something called “sextortion”.
Sextortion is a type of blackmail where someone threatens to send a sexual image or video of your child to friends, family or other people if they don’t provide more sexual content, pay them or do what they ask. While these sexual images and videos are often obtained through sexting, capping and grooming can also lead to sextortion if the offender pressures a child into sending them sexual images or videos.
28 - Your kids need to know how it can impact them or their friends
- It can be upsetting
- It can affect the way people see them
- It can make it harder for them in the future
- It can make them a target
- In many cases, it is illegal
Sharing naked or sexual images may seem harmless at the time, especially with someone they know or like. But, in the wrong hands, they can end up hurting your child or other people in different ways.
For starters, having your naked images shared hurts. It can change the way other people see or treat someone, and can make it harder for your child at school, recreational activities or jobs. It can damage their mental health and self-esteem for years to come. It can make them a target of people who want to control or harm them. And, in many cases, it’s against the law to create and share sexualized images of someone under the age of 18 years — especially if it’s without consent.
29 - Your kids need to know what they can do to avoid it
- Understand what a healthy relationship looks like
- Don’t give in to pressure to share sexual images or videos
- Know that whatever they share may not stay private
- Ask themselves: Would they want family, friends, teachers or strangers to see it?
- Don’t pass on sexual materials that they receive
You can’t control the actions of other people, so it is best to avoid the situations altogether. It is important for your child to be able to recognize what a healthy relationship looks like — loving, respectful and caring, not manipulative, intimidating or pressuring. This will help them understand when they see or are involved in an unhealthy one.
Kids need to know not to give into pressure to share intimate materials. It’s important that they understand that what they share may not stay private — if they wouldn’t want just anyone to see it, they shouldn’t risk sending it.
Make sure your kids know that if they ever receive a sexual image or video to not pass it on to their friends — it just makes them part of the problem, makes the victim feel worse, and could get them in trouble. If your child receives sexual materials they aren’t comfortable with, they should only show them to a safe adult when asking for help.
30 - Your kids need to know what to do if they are worried
- Immediately block and stop all communication
- Refuse to give in to threats by sending more
images or paying money
- Keep the correspondence to show those who can help
- Ask for help from parents, teachers, or another safe adult
- Report it to Cybertip.ca or the police
- Get help removing it from the internet at NeedHelpNow.ca
If kids are worried about any images they’ve sent, or if they’re being sextorted, there are steps they can take to get out of the situation.
First, they should stop all communication with the person asking for or who has received sexual images and block them on every platform. They should never give in to threats made by that person.
Next, they should save all correspondence with that person by taking a screenshot or printing out the conversation.
Next, your child should report the incident to a safe adult.
They should also report at Cybertip.ca or to the police.
If the youth has already sent sexual images or videos, they can get help removing those materials from the internet at NeedHelpNow.ca.
31 - Signs your child may be a target of online child sexual exploitation
More time online
A youth who is being targeted or exploited might act differently than usual. In many cases, an adult who is grooming or capping a youth will warn them not to talk to anyone, so it’s important to look out for any strange changes in their behaviour.
For example, they might talk about a new friend you’ve never heard of or met, or spend a lot more time online or on their phones than usual.
They might have new things you didn’t pay for — again, that could mean physical things like new clothes or devices, or digital items like new apps or video game upgrades.
They might be very focused on spending more time online, or get more secretive than usual when you are around.
Of course, for some youth this is normal behaviour. It’s important to keep open lines of communication so you can tell the difference between your child obsessing over a new online hobby and meeting someone suspicious online.
Or, they might use sexual language they have never used before or would be unlikely to use around their parents. An adult grooming them might have normalized that behaviour in conversations with the youth.
They may also become more emotionally fragile or volatile than usual — even for a pre-teen, tween or teenager.
They isolate themselves in certain locations in the home more than they would normally (e.g. the bedroom or the bathroom)
They complain of stomach aches, headaches and trouble sleeping
32 - How you can support your children
33 - What you can do open lines of communication
- Be available and approachable
- Let them know you are available to talk any time
- Let them know you’re there for them, even if they’ve made a mistake
- Understand they may be hesitant to share with you
The most important thing is to be aware and to talk openly and regularly with your child. Let them know they won’t get in trouble, even if they made a mistake or sent sexual materials to someone.
Understand they may be hesitant to share with you – they might be private, scared, embarrassed or just feel weird about it. It’s important to stay available and approachable so your child can talk to you when they’re ready, or provide them with another safe adult to talk to.
34 - What you can do open lines of communication
- Talk about online safety, privacy, establishing boundaries, healthy relationships and consent
- Use real life examples
- Teach them not to give in to pressure and to break off communication if they feel threatened or uncomfortable
- Let them know it is not their fault if someone has made them feel uncomfortable
When you do talk, use real life examples they can relate to that aren’t about them. Talk about online safety, privacy, establishing boundaries, healthy relationships and consent — that they don’t have to give in to pressure, and can break off communication if they feel threatened or uncomfortable.
35 - What you can do open lines of communication
- Tell them it’s always okay to come to you or another safe adult
- Encourage them to talk to other safe adults or use online resources
- Have these conversations frequently
Tell them it’s always okay to come to you, even if they’ve made a mistake. And in case they’re not comfortable with that, let them know that they can talk to another safe adult or resources like Cybertip.ca and NeedHelpNow.ca
in case they are worried and do not want to come to you.
36 - What you can do understand their online activities
- Teach them online safety and privacy
- Set ground rules
- Know their online friends
- Enable parental controls
- Monitor activities if possible
Empowering kids to stay safe online can help protect them from harm.
Have open and regular conversations about online safety and privacy, and make sure they know how to set strict privacy settings and block people when necessary. Ideally, their profiles should not be searchable by anyone outside their real-life friend group.
You can also set ground rules for internet use — whether that’s keeping a family computer instead of personal devices, taking away phones and tablets before bed, or deciding which websites are OK to visit.
Talk with them about their online friends so you know who’s coming and going in their lives. Many modems have parental controls that can prevent your children from visiting certain websites from any device connected to your internet.
Finally, monitor their online activities if possible. For their safety, it’s important to know what your kids are doing online.
37 - What you can do reporting
- Visit Cybertip.ca to report any form of online child sexual exploitation
- Contact local law enforcement if a child is in immediate danger or a crime has been committed
- Contact your child’s school if another student, parent or teacher is involved
If you find out that any child or teen is in a dangerous situation or is being exploited online, it’s important to report it immediately.
Visit Cybertip.ca to report any form of online child sexual exploitation, contact local law enforcement if a child is in immediate danger or a crime has been committed, and get in touch with your child’s school if another student, parent or teacher is involved.
38 - Resources
39 - Resources
The official Government of Canada page for OCSE information and resources
Canada’s tip line to report online child sexual exploitation
Confidential help for Canadian youth by phone, text or chat
Assistance for youth dealing with shared sexual images or videos
If you need any more information on this subject, or need to report it, resources are available.
The official Government of Canada page for OCSE information and resources.
You will find:
Booklets for parents and caregivers: Handout that covers a range of topics over several pages, including online grooming, sexual images and videos, capping, and sexting and sextortion.
40 - Discussion
Learn more about Online Dangers
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