Thursday, October 21, 2021
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ALERT: Online child exploitation rising amid COVID-19 isolation

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The Alberta Law Enforcement Response Team (ALERT) saying online child exploitation is on the rise.

Parents are being reminded to closely monitor their children’s internet activity.

ALERT says there has been a noted increase in cases of online of child exploitation lately, likely in part related to digital dependency during COVID-19 isolation.

For the month of March, ALERT’s Internet Child Exploitation (ICE) Unit received over 240 reported instances of online child exploitation in Alberta, which far exceeds the two-year average by more than double.

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ALERT CEO, Superintendent Dwayne Lakusta says it appears predators are trying to take advantage of kids being home from school. “As a parent myself, I have recently noticed some concerning online behaviour and have had to be even more diligent in monitoring what apps my child is using and who they are engaging with. All parents need to be vigilant of their kids’ online activities.”

He’s asking all parents to be vigilant of their kids’ online use.

ICE receives the bulk of its referrals from the RCMP’s National Child Exploitation Coordination Centre, which works with internet and social media providers to track and investigate online instances of child sexual exploitation.

(With files from ALERT)

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Patrick Siedlecki

Pat has been a mainstay in the CJOC News department from the time the station launched in 2007. He’s been in the position of News Director since then and has been anchoring daily news casts as well as reporting and working behind the scenes.

Community is important to him and keeping CJOC listeners and readers informed about what’s happening across southern Alberta and beyond.

Pat has been in radio broadcasting for the past 24 years, starting in Port Alberni on Vancouver Island in 1997 and then moving up island to Nanaimo for another few years before heading to Lethbridge in 2007.

Pat grew up in the small Saskatchewan farming town of Foam Lake. After high school, he went to Western Academy Broadcasting College (WABC) in Saskatoon prior to moving to the island.

Pat also spent several years broadcasting hockey in the BCHL as well as seven years as the radio voice of the Lethbridge Hurricanes in the WHL.

Pat has been working at Cornerstone Funeral Home in Lethbridge as a Certified Life Celebrant and Funeral Assistant since 2016.

News and sports have always been Pat’s passion from the time he was a teenager and he’s always been grateful to have had the opportunity to make that part of what’s been a fun and long radio career!

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