The Kelowna RCMP says there have been more than 100 reports of online sextortion in the community this year.
The warning comes in the wake of a 12-year-old boy's suicide death in Prince George, B.C., who was a victim of sextortion, which uses coercion and threats to extort money or sexually explicit favours from someone. This coercion often occurs on social media applications and online.
“Our children are increasingly using various online and texting apps including gaming, where they can communicate with people they may not know. This can potentially segue into a risk of sextortion and we must monitor their online activities," said Const. Mike Della-Paolera of the Kelowna RCMP.
“The RCMP are encouraging victims of sextortion to reach out for help by reporting them to police. You are a victim and you will not be in trouble for reporting."
Cybertip.ca has great resources to learn about sextortion and has educational materials to help guide sextortion conversations with youth and children.
Sextortion is most prevalent in youth between the ages of 13 and 18.
RCMP officers and local prosecutors have presented in many Grade 12 Law classes this school year, focusing on the dangers of online communications and posting intimate images online.
RCMP say these presentations have been positively received by both students and teachers, and demonstrate Kelowna’s collaborative commitment to addressing this increasing crime trend.
The RCMP plan to continue delivering these presentations to schools in the future.