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New resources from Richmond company teach kids online safety

Digital resources for teachers and parents to start a conversation with kids from Grades three to 12.
New resource hub to teach youth about online safety.

A Richmond company launched a website of resources to teach children and youth how to be safe when using the internet.

On March 4, the Exploitation Education Institute (ExEd) and Ally Global Foundation launched The Prevention Project, a free digital resource website to combat the sexual exploitation of minors worldwide, including in Canada.

The launch date of the website coincides with the beginning of Sexual Exploitation Awareness Week and Canada's recently tabled Bill C-63: Online Harms Act to protect Canadian youth against online harm.

According to the Canadian Centre for Child Protection, reports of online sexual luring targeting Canadian children surged by 815 per cent from 2018 to 2022.

The Prevention Project includes interactive and animated online courses to teach students from grades three to 12 how to interact with people on the internet and in person in safe and healthy ways.

Topics in the digital resources include online grooming, consent, non-consensual intimate photo sharing, sextortion, high-risk online behaviours, sexual exploitation and more.

The resource hub also includes safety videos, animations and even "gamified content" created with the assistance of survivors.

The goal of the project was to make sure these resources reach every single youth in Canada, explained Tiana Sharifi, CEO of ExEd.

Sharifi told the Richmond News that Ally Global initially contacted them to collaborate on spreading information and resources to prevent youth sexual exploitation to a wider audience."

"They had a vision of ... taking the scripts, content, education and expertise to develop these really high-level and good quality online resources and it just became so much bigger than we had hoped for," said Sharifi.

"We aimed to fill in the gap of what already existed in Canada in terms of resources, and something that we saw was missing was the ability to provide almost like a curriculum of a hub of resources that cover all of the topics that would relate to sexual exploitation and trafficking."

Sofia Friesen, Canadian programs director at Ally Global, said they are always finding ways to prevent human trafficking and empower survivors, and the project is one way to do just that.

"By providing accessible and survivor-informed educational resources, we equip individuals and communities with the tools they need to address this pervasive issue," said Friesen.

She added The Prevention Project is a milestone to address the "root causes of exploitation and trafficking in Canada."

Both Sharifi and Friesen said the project is to make these resources as easily accessible to educators and parents to start the conversation with children when they're young about personal boundaries and consent.

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