Amanda Todd tragedy a cautionary tale for a wired culture

Amanda Todd was the victim of a predator. He lured her online. Then blackmailed her to death. Sadly, child luring through the Internet is common and her tragedy is a cautionary tale for a wired culture.

Predator Watch, an initiative of the Children of the Street Society (COTS), has these chilling statistics that give a broad context for her story and raise questions about keeping children safe.

4,000,000 children are posting content to the web every day.

49 per cent of teens that post photos online report being contacted by a stranger.

1 in 10 youth give personal information out to strangers.

1 in 5 youth aged 10–17 years have been solicited sexually online.

13 is the average age that children reported being exploited through the sex trade.

75 per cent of youth who received an online sexual solicitation did not tell a parent.

76 per cent of parents don’t have rules about what their kids can do on the computer.

Over a five-year period, child-pornography related offences in Canada have increased over 900 per cent. Canada ranks number two in the world to hosting child sexual images (child pornography) online.

Between 100,000 and 300,000 youth are sexually exploited in North America every year.

Sexual exploitation is less visible on the street but online exploitation has exploded in the recent years.
“Education, education, education—parents need to educate themselves about their children’s technology use and make sure their children are educated about Internet safety,” Diane Sowden, executive director of COTS, told the Vancouver Observer.

“This education has to be ongoing for both parents and their children as technology is continually changing (webcam hacking, chat rooms, self-sexual exploitation, for your eyes only (FYEO) images, Facebook use, online tattoo).