10-year-old threatened by stranger over video chat

(File photo courtesy of Felix Lichtenfeld via Pixabay)

Police are investigating after a masked stranger threatened a 10-year-old Norfolk County child during an online video chat.

The Ontario Provincial Police officers were called by one of the child’s parents Thursday morning to report the incident at an address in Charlotteville.

Police said the 10-year-old accessed a video chat app and began speaking to a 30-year-old man, who was wearing a “hacker mask” (a Guy Fawkes mask). The man reportedly threatened the child by running his finger over his throat and blew the child a kiss before ending the video chat.

“The internet is a powerful tool for researching a school project, connecting with friends or entertainment, but there are pitfalls,” said Inspector Joseph Varga, detachment commander for the Norfolk County OPP. “Be careful what you post or share with others, safe surfing starts with you.”

Police encourage parents to supervise their children’s online usage by always keeping computers in high-traffic rooms, knowing their child’s passwords, and setting rules regarding the household internet. Parents should also be mindful that anything their child posts online is permanent, and any image broadcast over a webcam can be captured.