POLICE ASSOCIATION OF NOVA SCOTIA 129 Internet Child Exploitation - Internet Luring The Internet has come into the lives of children and youth at a rapid rate. It serves not only as an excellent educational tool but also as a means of communication, allowing people to chat with their closest friends and Internet friends living in other parts of the world. There are also many dangers on the World Wide Web. Strangers no longer need to meet children face to face but can easily develop a relationship online, in secret. Some children will begin to trust strangers on the internet and accept them as friends, without knowing the dangerous intentions of the "predator". A predator will make up lies and change his online identity to make children believe he is someone he is not. Once the predator senses he has gained the trust of the youth he will set up a meeting in person, which can lead to a very dangerous situation. The protection of children from Internet predators is a difficult one. Many parents conclude that the only way to deal with the problem is to keep the child offline or monitor them exceptionally close. Luring of Children on the Internet In 2002, Section 172.1 was added to the Criminal Code of Canada to criminalize electronic communication with a person believed to be a child for the purpose of facilitating the commission of sexual offences. Depending on the offence, the requisite age (real or believed) of the intended victim varies from 14 to 18. Internet luring of children is punishable on summary of conviction. The maximum penalty is a fine of $2000, and/or imprisonment for up to six months. For an indictment, imprisonment is up to five years. Advice for PARENTS Here are some very important steps you should take to help ensure the safety of your children. Be Informed - Talk to computer sales clerks and determine which software packages are available to safeguard your child and block out offensive materials. - Sit down with your child and talk about their computer interests. Be Smart - Promise your children you will not get angry if they come to you with a problem they experience online. - Set the rules for Internet use, including when and how long your child can go on-line. - Have your child use a code name while on-line. - Change passwords frequently. - Periodically view the history of your child's chat line. - Always maintain access to your child's on-line accounts and randomly check the e-mail messages. Advice for YOUTH It is important to talk to your children and inform them of the following steps they can take to protect themselves from internet predators. Be Alert - Do not believe everything you read online, and treat everyone you meet as a stranger. Internet predators will use fake names for false intentions. - Use "Netiquette". Be polite to others online. If someone is rude or offends you, do not respond to them. - Never open emails from someone you do not know. Just delete them. - Tell an adult if someone makes you feel uncomfortable or scares you. - Never meet someone in person with whom you communicated with on the Internet unless you have received parental permission. Accompaniment of the parent is an absolute must, and the meeting should only be arranged in a public place. - Use a gender neutral "nickname" when entering chatrooms. - Never give your name or family names, addresses, telephone numbers, the name of the school you attend, parent's workplace or any other pertinent information that might help a predator locate you.