Group warns about surge in online child kidnapping after alleged kidnapping of Edmonton teen

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The Canadian Children’s Conservation Center says there has been a surprising increase in reports of children being kidnapped online as an American man accused of kidnapping a teenage girl by Edmonton was scheduled to appear in court on Tuesday. I am saying.

The 13-year-old girl went missing more than a week before being discovered in Oregon on Saturday.

Noah Madrano, 40, has been arrested by an FBI agent and detained on suspicion of rape, sexual abuse, and kidnapping.

Stephen Sauer, director of the center’s Cybertip.ca, said there was a 120% increase in reports of online child seduction over the past six months. Cybertip is a Canadian tip for reporting child sexual abuse online.

“They really see the child’s vulnerability and exploit it,” Sauer said.

He said about 50 percent of the reports were related to blackmail. People create fake social media accounts, contact their children and ask them to share intimate images and videos. Second, users threaten to share with family, friends, or children’s schools if they don’t provide money or other images.

Sauer said it’s far rarer for an online person to meet a child.

According to Edmonton police, the girl was last seen arriving in middle school, but did not appear in class. She was reported missing on June 24th.

Police said the suspect was believed to have come to Edmonton, but it is not clear how she crossed the US border.

“I don’t know how long they’ve been in contact. The reason we go on suspicion of seducing children at this point is because it’s something we can support for some of the online history. I know, “Edmonton Police Insp. Brentdar Sade said at a recent press conference.

Prevention is the key to keeping children safe online, Sauer said. Parents need to discuss with their children what they are doing on social media and chat. He added that it doesn’t have to be a formal conversation, only parents check in with their children.

According to Sauer, what could make a big difference is the tightening of social media regulations, especially on platforms such as Snapchat and Instagram used by young people.

One in three Internet users in the world is a child and one in five in Canada. Many countries are putting pressure on social media companies to ensure that the platform is safe for its demographics.

Canada has established an online safety advisory board to form a regulatory framework for dealing with harmful content online.

Sauer said the company itself can take immediate action to make online spaces safer for children.

“There is much more that companies can do in this area.”

Canadian press

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