The Medicine Hat Police Service (MHPS) has identified a concerning trend involving an increased number of reports of online bullying and the sharing of intimate images and videos, among youth in particular.
The digital world is a continuously evolving environment that operates 24 hours, 7-days-a-week, 365 days a year. The Internet can be both a wonderful resource for connecting and learning but also comes with risks, like inappropriate content, cyberbullying, and online predators.
Because the technology and platforms are rapidly evolving it’s not uncommon for kids to know more than their parents or teachers and as a result it’s difficult for parents and caregivers to keep up and know how to ensure their loved ones are safe and using this technology appropriately.
Another inherent challenge is that once something has been shared online, it is almost impossible to take it back. Because of this, the MHPS would like to encourage everyone, but specifically our youth to remember that when you hit send to a message, an image, or a video that is can become public, permanent, searchable, and potentially exploitable.
The online world is no stranger to the criminal element and social media applications are no different. People need to be aware that online bullying and sharing of intimate images can lead to criminal and other types of charges such as bullying, harassment, extortion, distribution of child pornography, and a variety of other offences
The MHPS Community Support Unit encourages youth to protect themselves and for parents/guardians to watch over their children’s social media use and help guide them to safety.
Remember when online and when using social media applications to; set the privacy settings high, use a secure password and don’t share it, only interact with people who you know, think about everything you post before you post it, and if you don’t want it out in the world, don’t post it.
As the world, but specifically our community, learns to grow through this digital environment, there are resources out there to help our youth and parents/guardians. Please take some time to explore the below links.
Please take care of each other and help each other as there are enough normal life stressors without creating extra in our digital future.
Sgt. Adam Gregory
Medicine Hat Police Service
Community Support Unit