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Toronto police warn teens against sexting, selfies

02/10/2015 05:06 EST | Updated 04/12/2015 05:59 EDT
Toronto police are urging parents to talk to their children about the dangers of posting sexualized images of themselves online as part of an educational initiative launched Tuesday.

Police issued their warnings on Safer Internet Day, saying it's far too easy for teens to lead sexual predators "right to your door" through sexting or posting selfies, through a geolocation setting on mobile devices.

Officers held a news conference at police headquarters where they relayed the message that "every keystroke can have a consequence" and to "conduct yourself on the internet just as you would in public."

Police say they've been made aware that victims of internet predators are becoming younger — in fact, as young as eight. Det.-Const. Michele Bond said a key problem is that kids are sending photos to people they don't know.

"They're thinking it could be a 12-year-old girl they're talking to [when it's] really a 40-year-old man living across the country or in another country," Bond told CBC News.

"We are asking parents to take a minute to review the setting options and determine if they are age-appropriate," she said in a Toronto Police Service release. "A geolocation setting can be useful and actually required for some applications to work. However, it can also lead a predator right to your door."

The CBC's Kate Adach spoke to some Grade 11 students about their online habits — and has several tips from police for parents on how to keep their children safe.

On mobile? Click here to watch the report.

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