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Winnipeg protective agencies warn of the dark side of sexting

Click to play video 'How to talk to your kids about what to do, and what not to, online' How to talk to your kids about what to do, and what not to, online
WATCH: Signy Arnason of the Canadian Centre for Child Protection offers tips for parents, to help keep their kids safe in an online world – Sep 28, 2018

Winnipeg police are partnering with the Canadian Centre for Child Protection (CCCP) to launch a campaign educating youth on the adverse effects of sexual texting.

The agencies are teaming up to let teenagers know that if their nude is being shared without their consent, help is available.

The partnership comes as the province pushes to curb the amount of sexual image sharing across Manitoba.

READ MORE: 4 in 10 young Canadians have sent a sext, report says

The CCCP says their Cybertip website receives an average of seven requests for assistance per week from youth in crisis tied to the sharing of a sexual picture. The site has more than 2,400 unique visitors every month who access information that could potentially aid them.

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In the next few weeks, School Resource Officers will be presenting information and resources from the CCCP to middle and high school classrooms on the sharing of sexted photos.

“When a teen is in crisis because their intimate image is being shared, it can be devastating,” the CCCP’s Associate Executive Director Signy Arnason said.

“We’ve lost too many kids who felt they had nowhere to turn.”

READ MORE: ‘They knew what they did was wrong’: Mother of Rehtaeh Parsons speaks out on Bridgewater teens sentencing

“It’s not enough to say ‘don’t send a nude’ – the reality is it is happening,” Arnason said. “We need to be working together to get teens the help they need when the situation gets out of their control.”

The CCCP says that part of the problem starts early, as kids are so used to having phones within grasp.

“You have to empower [your children] with the skills to think critically so that when they’re faced with these difficult situations — maybe their boyfriend persisting on receiving an intimate image — that in fact that behaviour the boyfriend is exhibiting is not loving behaviour, it’s controlling behaviour,” Arnason said.
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“You cannot be monitoring everything kids are doing.”

In Canada, it is illegal for a person to distribute an intimate image of another person without that person’s consent.

WATCH: More teens are sexting and at younger ages: University of Calgary study

Click to play video 'More teens are sexting and at younger ages: University of Calgary study' More teens are sexting and at younger ages: University of Calgary study
More teens are sexting and at younger ages: University of Calgary study – Feb 26, 2018