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What parents should tell their kids when giving high tech gifts this holiday season

Ottawa, ON – December 14, 2006 – The National Child Exploitation Coordination Centre (NCECC) urges parents and caregivers to understand and share with children some basic guidelines about the safe use of electronic/computer gifts this holiday season.

December is a time of giving and receiving gifts for many people. Some of the common gifts this year are cell phones, laptop computers, webcams, and gaming systems. While these products are great gifts with many benefits, some concerns arise when Internet and / or wireless capabilities are introduced. This season, while you give your children the newest technology, ensure you also provide information to help keep them safe. Education is a lifetime gift - make sure your gifts come with lasting, positive impacts.

"Children need to know how to protect themselves and what to do if they come across Internet content that is questionable," says RCMP Superintendent Earla-Kim McColl, Officer in Charge of the NCECC. "Setting some general computer rules for your children is certainly a good start to keeping them safe."

The NCECC is part of the Government of Canada's National Strategy to Protect Children from Online Sexual Exploitation, and is an important contributor to the RCMP's strategic priority on youth. Working with police agencies across Canada, the NCECC sees all too many cases of children who are sexually exploited through the Internet, and wants to support parents and caregivers in promoting the safe use of technology tools.

In response, the NCECC has prepared the attached safety tip sheet, as well as a number of fact sheets on webcams, camera phones and online chat that can be found at www.ncecc.ca/fact_sheets/index_e.htm.

Operated by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police's National Police Services, the NCECC provides service to Canadian law enforcement agencies in the fight against Internet-facilitated child sexual abuse. The NCECC creates links between Canadian police agencies to coordinate investigations, promote investigative standards and advance prevention / awareness efforts to prevent the abduction, endangerment and sexual exploitation of children. The Centre also coordinates all international requests to conduct online sexual exploitation investigations in Canada.

The NCECC is helping to reduce the online victimization of children through prevention and awareness initiatives and by working with its partners - Industry Canada's Cyberwise.ca program, www.deal.org - an RCMP by youth for youth initiative and www.cybertip.ca - Canada's national tipline.

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For more information, please contact RCMP Media Relations at (613) 993-2999.