Online luring a fast-growing threat to kids in Mississauga and Brampton, cops say

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Published February 7, 2023 at 10:21 am

Peel Regional Police say an 815 per cent increase in reports of online luring in the last five years across Canada shows that children in Mississauga, Brampton and elsewhere are in much greater danger of being targeted by predators.

The dramatic spike in online luring was tracked by Cybertip.ca, Canada’s national tip line for reporting online sexual exploitation of children.

Online luring is when a person (typically an adult, but not always) communicates with children by texting, direct messaging or chatting in an app/game/website to make it easier to commit a specific sexual offence against them, Cybertip.ca officials say on their website.

In a post to Twitter today (Feb. 7), Peel police provide links for parents that offer tips on how they can keep their kids safe while online or using their phones.

Experts on cyber crime and online luring at the Canadian tip line say an example of a communication that may be reported as luring is if the person asks, hints at or tries to convince a child/youth to create or send naked or semi‑naked sexual pictures or videos.

“Adults looking to exploit youth use a number of tactics to groom teens online such as sending sexually explicit material, misrepresenting who they are (for example, they say they’re a teen, too) or attempting to establish a romantic relationship,” they say.

“This coercion is used in hopes the youth will either meet the offender in person or send sexually explicit material, which may be used to blackmail or extort the teen.”

Cybertip.ca offers a number of tips on how best to talk to kids about online luring and what other steps are available to protect them.

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