The Abbotsford Police Department (APD) has launched a campaign to help kids avoid becoming the victims of inappropriate text or social media requests.
The campaign, called “It’s a No,” was introduced Tuesday morning at W.A. Fraser Middle School and will be presented by the APD at all middle and high schools across Abbotsford in the coming weeks.
The campaign warns kids that they could be asked to send compromising photos of themselves by both friends and strangers.
It offers them a “It’s a No” meme that they can upload to their phones or other electronic device to send in response to any such request. (The meme is available online at itsano.ca and on posters at the school presentations.)
Const. Mary Boonstra, speaking to Fraser Middle School students on Tuesday morning, said the APD wants kids to think about the consequences of sending intimate images.
Once sent, the photos can be widely shared, and it can be difficult for police to to recover them all.
“We want you to think about that … This is your life and your future,” Boonstra said.
She said requests for revealing photos can come from a stranger who “casts a wide net,” sending to dozens of kids at a time in hopes that one or two will respond.
But they can also come, for example, from a boyfriend who might decide to post or send the images after a breakup.
Boonstra warned that anyone in possession of such images could be subject to criminal child pornography charges.
She encouraged any youth who has been victimized to talk to a parent or to police.
“We want you to be able to have a voice … We will try to help you,” she said.
Information on the It’s a No website indicates that, in a recent study, more than 10 per cent of youths said they had an intimate photo of theirs shared without consent.