Sextortion on the rise in Surrey, parents warned of extra risk during pandemic social distancing

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Todd is preparing for the coming school year and as a teacher who sees from up close how important socializing is to youth, she thinks isolating in bubbles has encouraged teens to spend more time online with people who may seem like friends, but who in fact they know nothing about.

“There’s only so much you can do in your bubble. We’re into it for six months now and the go-to is technology because you don’t have your real social contacts.

“We’re hearing that. What kids are missing most about school is not their teacher and it’s not studying and doing assignments, it’s the peer relationships they’re missing.”

The internet is joined by new. young — and thus uneducated and naive —  users everyday. One tool is for parents to be better-informed, Todd said. It’s them, after all, and not the kids who are paying for phones.

The devices need to come with rules, she said.

“It’s so easy to get information out of young people. They don’t even realize they’re giving away critical information on social media and then (predators) get hold of it.”

Children of the Street, an organization begun in 1995 to help prevent children being drawn into the sex trade, has parents’ workshops and recommends children and their friends not be allowed to have phones or other devices in the bathroom, bedroom or other private areas of the home.

It also says desktop and laptop computers should be kept in a common area where the screens can be easily (and discreetly) monitored.

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