It's International Safer Internet Day and Toronto Police held a news conference Tuesday calling on parents and young people to educate themselves about the dangers lurking online.
The news conference came just days after Toronto Police announced the arrest of convicted sex offender Hassan Steven Jarrar. Jarrar is accused of luring a 14-year-old girl online and using an explicit photo of her to extort her into meeting him at a Toronto hotel. Investigators say that is when the child was sexually assaulted.
Detective Constable Michele Bond is with the Child Exploitation section of the Toronto Police Sex Crimes Unit and says it's time for parents to step in and figure out exactly what their children are doing online.
"We are pleading with parents to wake up and become more involved in their child's lives and to monitor not only what, yet who their children are talking to online."
Detective Constable Bond says parents need to stop trying to be their child's friend and parent. And if it means being nosey, so be it.
"Look at their iPods and their iPhones or on the computer when they are chatting. If the child does not want you to see what their writing or who they are communicating with, maybe it's time that you do take it a step further and look into it."said Bond.
Police are also warning young people that they too have a responsibility to protect themselves by ensuring that they do not give out any personal information over the net and that includes explicit or 'sexy' photos of themselves.
Young people should also be aware that sharing or distributing explicit photos of anyone under the age of 18 is considered a crime.
For more tips on how you protect yourself or your child, visit needhelpnow.ca or cybertip.ca