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Warning from police to parents: Keep a close eye on your kids' internet and app use
VANCOUVER -- A sudden increase in internet activity has police warning parents to keep an eye on what their children are doing online.
With schools closed, B.C. educators are looking to move classes online, and some kids are already spending a bit more time unsupervised as their parents try to work from home.
A warning sent out Friday reminded parents to be wary of who their children may be interacting with.
"Although convenient for learning and socializing, Vancouver police want parents to be mindful of who could be on the other side of the screen," the department said in a statement.
Officers did not mention any specific incidents, but warned about general internet use as well as social media apps.
Specifically, the Vancouver Police Department mentioned Snapchat, TikTok and Instagram as tools predators can use to reach kids.
These and other apps can be used to solicit and share sexual photos and videos, police said.
And earlier in the day, the Better Business Bureau issued a warning about the video conferencing platform Zoom, saying there have been multiple reports south of the border of calls being "hijacked."
In one instance, a hijacker took over an online class and shouted profanities. The BBB said in other cases, these disruptors have shared pornographic and hateful images, and used threatening language.
Vancouver police told parents to call 911 if they see anything that concerns them, or to report it online on cybertip.ca.
Police offered the following tips:
- Monitor your child's devices and read their messages
- Know your child's login
- Be wary of multi-player online games
- Consider software that controls access to sites and apps, and sets time limits on usage
- Consider only allowing your child to use apps and access websites while in shared family locations