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As the summer break approaches, Peel Regional Police would like to remind parents and caregivers to exercise due caution and care in activities that involve children and the internet.   Recent studies indicate that surfing the internet has surpassed television as an activity for children and young adults.  During the summer break, children will be spending more time at home, having greater opportunity to go online and increase the risk from unsupervised “surfing or chatting.” As with television, the internet is not a substitute babysitter. Ensuring children maintain a balanced, summer program, will promote a healthy lifestyle and reduce risks associated with unsupervised access to the internet. Staying physically active, socializing with friends off-line and reviewing their school work over the summer break, along with supervised internet access, will help keep children healthy, safe and better prepared for their return to school in September.                    

                                                     PRP’S TOP TEN

Tips To Protect Children from Internet Predators


  1. Communicate with your child and establish ground rules on their use of the Internet.  (For sample rules go to and click on “Youth.”)
  2. Become more computer literate and Internet savvy yourself. Learn what your children like to do online and join in. i.e. set up an MSN/Facebook account for yourself.
  3. Check out parental controls available on your online service. Block adult chat rooms. Block Instant/Personal Messages from people you don't know. Install filtering/blocking software, or use a "clean Internet provider" that filters at the server level.   
  4. Keep the computer in a "public" area in your house. NEVER allow a child to have a computer in their room that has Internet access.
  5. Monitor the amount of time your child spends on the Internet, and at what times of day. Excessive time online, especially at night, may indicate a problem. Agree on a set time; use an egg timer; one hour means one hour. (Time on the Internet is time taken from other healthy activities.)
  6. Tell your children to never agree to meet someone they’ve met online; or give out personal information, including name, address, school they attend or teachers' names, parents' names, etc.
  7. Do not allow your child to use a Web Cam, digital camera, or video camera without your very close supervision.
  8. Regularly search the Internet “history” on every computer with Internet access in your home, and don’t be hesitant to question the parents of other children your child may visitIf your child erases the “history”, they don’t want you to see where they’ve been. This is a good time to have a talk.
  9. Very closely monitor chat rooms your child may visit. Chat rooms and web sites that cater to children are where 90% of the initial contacts are made by Internet child sexual predators.
  10. Remind your children to conduct themselves online the same as in the real world. Schools have been dealing with Cyberbullying on a regular basis. Kids need to treat each other with respect and look out for their friends and younger siblings.Letting children use the Internet unsupervised, particularly talking in chat rooms, is the equivalent of dropping them off at a park, at 10:00 p.m., and saying, "Go make some new friends."A message from the Internet Child Exploitation Unit and Crime Prevention Services. For further information, please contact Cst. B. Pennington -Internet Child Exploitation Unit at (905) 453-3311, ext. 3489, Cst. C. Christidis -Crime Prevention Services at (905) 453-3311, ext. 4017 or visit our website at 

To report Child Pornography go to

A parent's guide to online safety: Ages and stages

Ages 2 to 4: Starting out

During this stage, online activity is most likely to involve parents.

Parents can hold children in their laps while they look at family photographs, use a Web cam to communicate with relatives, or visit kid-friendly sites.  

Ages 5 to 6: Doing it themselves

By the time they reach age five, children will probably want to explore the Web by themselves.

It's important for parents to guide their children on safer Internet surfing as the children start to use the Internet themselves.

Ages 7 to 8: Interest growing

Part of normal behavior for children in this age group is seeing what they can get away with. While online, this might include going to sites or talking in chat rooms to which parents wouldn't give them permission.

Online activity reports can be especially helpful during this stage. Kids won't feel that their parents are looking over their shoulders, but the report still shows where they've been.

Ages 9 to 12: Online savvy

Preteens want to know everything, and they've heard what's available on the Web. It's normal for them to try to see what's there.

For subject matters parents find objectionable (for example, sexually explicit adult content or bomb-making instructions), parents can use parental controls to help block the objectionable content.

Ages 13 to 17: Technically sophisticated

Helping teenagers with online safety is especially tricky, because they often know more than their parents about Internet software.

Even with older kids, it's important for parents to take an active role in guiding their children's Internet use. Strict adherence to online safety rules agreed upon by parent and child, and frequent reviews of children's online activity reports are especially important.

Parents should remember to keep their own passwords secure, so that teens cannot sign in as parents.

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Ont. launches website targeting deadbeat parents

Updated Mon. Feb. 19 2007 11:35 AM ET News Staff

A doctor, an IT specialist and a carpenter are now among a group of men whose pictures have been posted on an Ontario government website that is meant to expose deadbeat parents.

The provincial government announced the initiative last month saying the website will be used as another tool to aid the Family Responsibility Office (FRO) in tracking down parents who don't pay child support.

The website -- Good Parents Pay -- did not have any female deadbeats listed Monday, but it did have photos of 18 fathers, as well as their vital statistics and last-known locations.

Some of the men have left the country, including the doctor, Ahmad Pourghazi, who was last seen in Gonbad, Iran. But most of them -- including the IT specialist, Greg Stanton, and the carpenter, Noel Faria -- are believed to still be residing in the Toronto area.

On the site, users can submit information anonymously to the FRO.

The office is trying to manage almost 188,000 active cases, with each one remaining open for an average of 12 years.

"Most parents are following court orders and making their payments," Social Services Minister Madeleine Meilleur said in an earlier statement.

"But there are also some irresponsible parents out there and our message is simple: you owe your children money and we will find you."

She says parents will be advised that their picture is about to be posted, giving them one last chance to pay their court-ordered support.

Ontario's ombudsman recently lashed out against the FRO, accusing the department of being "inept'' and having a "lackadaisical'' attitude when it comes to collecting outstanding support.

Meilleur said there have been big changes at the office and that things are improving.

The maximum jail time for offenders was recently doubled to 180 days, and the province started suspending driver's licences for non-payment. Since then, the FRO says, deadbeats have started paying up.

Meilleur said the FRO has collected $563.4 million in outstanding support since January 2004 after issuing 16,000 notices of intention to suspend driver's licences.

In order to recover money from parents refusing to pay child support, the government passed the Family Responsibility and Support Arrears Enforcement Amendment Act in 2005. It gives the FRO authority to garnishee bank accounts, seize lottery winnings, suspend driver's licences and use private collection agencies.

Alberta launched a similar website, and says its site has helped locate numerous deadbeat

the sad facts about sex offenses and those that perpetrate them

  • 1 of 5 girls will be sexually molested before her 18th birthday.
  • 1 of 6 boys will be sexually molested before his 18th birthday.
  • 1 of 5 children has been propositioned for sex over the Internet.
  • 2 of 3 sexual abuses are perpetrated against teenagers or younger children.
  • 90% of sexual assaults are committed against someone the perpetrator knows.
  • The median age for male molestation victims under 18 is 9.8 years old.
  • The median age for female molestation victims under 18 is 9.6 years old.
  • There are new 400,000 victims of sexual assault every year.
  • There are over 550,000 registered sex offenders in the US.
  • There are over 100,000 sex offenders that fail to register in the US.
  • 76% of serial rapists claim they were molested as children.
  • Over 40% of male juvenile delinquents were molested as children
  • Preventing Child Abduction

    Saturday January 13, 2007

    Tens of thousands of children go missing every year in Canada.

    The danger isn't new, but it isn't going away either.

    In recent years there's been an average of more than 60,000 children reported missing across Canada, and roughly one third of those come from Ontario. It's not something parents usually expect, but it can happen in an instant.

    "Often you see parents walking ahead and the kids behind them," said Trish Derby, Executive Director of Child Find Ontario.

    "Put your kids in front of you, and you're walking behind them if need be."

    To help keep your children safe, Derby also recommends the "What if?" game.

    "What if mom was late picking you up from soccer?" she uses as an example.

    "Do you wait for mom? Do you have a cell phone number? Do you go with your neighbour?"

    And if you're worried contemplating such unpleasant experiences will merely scare your children and do more harm than good, consider this: it's better to scare a child than to lose it.

    Some parents also think keeping kids in strollers is a good way to prevent kids from running off, but experts remind parents that if a child's old enough to climb into a stroller, they're old enough to climb right out of it.

    Here are some tips to prevent child abduction, courtesy of Child Find Canada:

    Young children should:

    1. never say they are alone if they answer the phone: they can offer to take a message or say their parents will phone back.
    2. never answer the door if they are alone.
    3. not invite anyone into the house without the permission of a parent or babysitter.
    4. not go into people's houses without letting anyone know where they are.
    5. never get into anyone's car without permission.
    6. not take candy or other gifts from strangers or anyone else without asking a parent first.
    7. never play in deserted buildings or isolated areas.
    8. scream and scatter books and belongings if they are forced toward a building or car.
    9. move away from a car that pulls up beside them if they do not know the driver.
    10. be taught their full telephone number and address.
    11. be taught that it's all right to say 'no' to an adult if the person wants them to do something you've taught them is wrong.
    12. know that no one has the right to touch any part of their bodies that a bathing suit would cover.
    13. tell you, school authorities or a police officer about anyone who exposes private parts.
    14. tell you if someone has asked them to keep a secret from you.
    15. go to the nearest cashier if lost or separated from you in a store or mall.

    Teens should:

    16. tell you where they are at all times or leave a written or recorded message at home.
    17. never hitchhike.
    18. avoid shortcuts through empty parks, fields, laneways or alleys.
    19. run home or go to the nearest public place and yell for help if they are being followed.
    20. learn to recognize suspicious behavior and remember a description of the person or vehicle to give you or the police. Write the plate number in the dirt or snow if nothing else is available.
    21. if attacked for money, jewelry or clothing give it up rather than risk injury.
    22. feel that they can talk to you and call you to pick them up any time, any place.

    Parents should:

    23. avoid clothing and toys with your child's name on it. A child is less likely to fear someone that knows his/her name.
    24. check all potential babysitters and older friends of your child.
    25. never leave a child alone in a public place, stroller or car. Not even for a minute.
    26. always accompany young children to the bathroom in a public place and advise them never to play in or around the area.
    27. always accompany your child on door-to-door activities, i.e. hallowe'en, school fundraising campaigns, etc.
    28. point out safe houses or homes with the Block Parent sign where children can go if they are in trouble.
    29. keep an up-to-date colour photograph of your child, a medical and dental history, and have your child fingerprinted.

    For more information, visit Child Find Canada's website.

    Parents don't only have to keep close tabs on their youngsters outside of the home, but inside as well if kids are surfing the Web.

    Here are some things parents and kids should know about the dangers in the online world, courtesy of the Media Awareness Network:

    How Do Predators Work?

    Online Predators Are Usually:

    • Male
    • Seductive
    • Introverted
    • Sadistic
    • Sexually Indiscriminate

    According to the Media Awareness Network, predators often try to seduce victims with affection, compliments, and even gifts and they're often willing to spend a lot of time and money on this process.

    They'll try to lower a young person's inhibitions by gradually introducing sexual talk.

    But there are others who will try to engage a victim in explicit conversation right away and could include online harassment or stalking.

    What Children Are At Risk?

    • New online and unfamiliar with Netiquette
    • Actively seeking attention/affection
    • Rebellious
    • Isolated or lonely
    • Curious
    • Confused regarding sexual identity
    • Easily tricked by adults
    • Allured by subcultures outside of parents' world

    How can parents minimize the risk of a child becoming a victim?

    • Talk to your kids about sexual predators and potential online dangers.
    • Young children shouldn't use chat rooms, period-the dangers are too great. As children get older, steer them towards well-monitored chat rooms for kids. Even teens should be encouraged to use monitored chat rooms.
    • Instruct your children to never leave the public area of a chat room. Many chat rooms offer private areas where users can have one-on-one conversations.
    • If your children participate in chat rooms, make it your business to know what chat rooms they visit and who they talk to. Monitor the chat areas yourself to see what kind of conversations are going on.
    • Keep the computer with Internet access in a common area of the house, never in a child's bedroom. It's much more difficult for a predator to establish a relationship with your child if the computer screen is easily visible to parents and other household members.
    • When your children are young, they should share the family email address rather than having their own email accounts. As they get older, you can ask your ISP to set up a separate email address, but kids' mail should still reside in your account.
    • Teach your children never to respond to instant messaging or emails from strangers.
    • For places outside your area of supervision-such as the public library, school, or friend's homes-find out what computer safeguards are used.
    • If all precautions fail and your kids do encounter an online predator, remember that they're not to blame in any way. The offender always bears the complete responsibility for his actions.

    How can kids minimize the risk of being victimized?

    They should:

    • Never download images from an unknown source, as they could be sexually explicit.
    • Tell an adult immediately if anything happens online that makes them feel uncomfortable or frightened.
    • Choose a gender-neutral nickname.
    • Never reveal personally identifiable information (including age and gender) online.
    • Post the family online agreement by the computer to remind them to protect their privacy on the Internet.

    How can you tell if a child is being targeted?

    Here some clues that may indicate that a child has been targeted by an online predator:

    • A child or teen spends large amounts of time online
    • Most children who fall victim to online predators spend a lot of time online, particularly in chat rooms. In such cases, parents should monitor how much time is spent online, and in what activities.
    • You find pornography on the family computer
    • Predators often use pornography to sexually victimize children-often supplying it as a way to open sexual discussions with potential victims.
    • Child pornography may be used to convince a child victim that adults having sex with children is "normal." Parents should be aware that a child may hide pornographic files on diskettes, especially if the computer is used by other family members.
    • A child or teen receives phone calls from people you don't know; or makes calls to numbers you don't recognize-sometimes long distance
    • Online predators may try to contact young people to engage in "phone sex," or to try to set up a real-world meeting. If kids are hesitant to give out their home phone number, online sex offenders will give out theirs. Some have even obtained toll-free 1-800 numbers, so their potential victims can call them without their parents finding out. Others will tell the child to call collect-and then, with Caller ID, they can easily find out the child's phone number.
    • A child or teen receives mail, gifts, or packages from someone you don't know
    • It's common for offenders to send letters, photographs, and all manner of gifts to their potential victims. Computer-sex offenders have even sent plane tickets to try to entice a child or teen to travel across the country to meet them.
    • A child or teen becomes withdrawn from family and friends; or quickly turns the computer monitor off or changes the screen if an adult comes into the room
    • Online predators work hard to drive wedges between kids and their families, often exaggerating any minor problems at home. Sexually victimized children often become withdrawn and depressed. And if kids are avoiding their friends or skipping classes, they may be attempting to meet with a predator.
    • A child is using someone else's online account
    • Even kids who don't have access to the Internet at home may meet an offender while online at a friend's house or the library. Predators will sometimes provide their victims with a computer account, so they can communicate with them.

    What can you do if a child is being targeted?

    • You should contact your local police immediately if an online correspondent sends a young person child pornography or sexually explicit images; and especially if a young person is actually sexually solicited.
    • Check your computer for pornographic files or any kind of sexual communications-these can be warning signs.
    • Monitor the child's access to all live electronic communications, such as chat rooms, instant messages, and email. Online predators almost always meet potential victims in chat rooms at first, and then continue communicating with them electronically via email.

    For more information on keeping your kids safe online, visit the following links:

    Media Awareness Network