How police use humour to educate youth about cyber safety (VIDEO)

Officer Red Flag. (Screen shot courtesy of Windsor Police Services)

Officer Red Flag is his name, and Windsor police hope he will help educate children about the dangers of making friends online.

Through humour, the bearded character is designed to help kids spot the red flags online themselves and avoid becoming another statistic, those victimized by child pornographers.

The Ontario Provincial Police said officers arrested 122 suspects in November and laid more than 500 child pornography-related charges across the province. Windsor police Sergeant Steve Betteridge says the video’s premiere was coordinated for the timing of that announcement.

“That was a provincial strategy,” he said. “Yesterday, there was an investigation done in that month of November by our ICE Unit officers that ended up identifying, locating and arresting a male suspect for a number of serious offences including possession of child pornography, accessing child pornography, and making available child pornography. So, the timing isn’t coincidental.”

Police hope parents will watch the 90-second video with their kids.

“It’s something that we will be bringing to the school boards,” Betteridge said. “The goal is obviously; knowledge is power.”

Officer Red Flag. (Screen shot courtesy of Windsor Police Services)

Officer Red Flag. (Screenshot courtesy of Windsor Police Services)

The video shows a young girl texting with a boy in her bedroom. Later, when she meets with him in a local park, “Timmy” turns out to be an older man who makes her feel uncomfortable.

“This ties into a dangerous world of predators and certain crimes that can be committed online. It’s something that law enforcement takes extremely seriously,” said Betteridge emphasizing that it is not enough to just street proof your children anymore, they need to what he called digital smarts too.