Children of the Street urges parents to ‘Have the Talk’ with their kids

Who: Children of the Street, with Will for strategy and creative.

What: “Have the Talk,” a new campaign urging parents in B.C. to speak with their children about online sexual exploitation.

When & Where: The British Columbia-wide campaign launched last week, coinciding with Stop the Sexual Exploitation of Children and Youth Awareness Week (March 7-13) in B.C. Media includes out of home, and digital/social pushing to

Why: On any given day, there are 750,000 individuals online actively targeting children for sexual purposes, according to the Global Partnership and Fund to End Violence Against Children, an initiative created by the United Nations Secretary General.

The Canadian Centre for Child Protection revealed an 88% increase in reports of child online exploitation since the pandemic started, while the Surrey RCMP reported a 122% increase in cases involving images of child sexual abuse during the last three years.

A recent survey from Public Safety Canada found that while most Canadian parents and caregivers have great concern for their child’s safety online, only 12% of them consider it to be a problem happening in their community, and less than half are actively safeguarding their child against online exploitation.

How: The campaign’s two primary creative assets feature a young person inside a speech bubble talking to a person on a mobile device. The speech bubble is made by a series of outstretched hands representing dozens of online predators. The accompanying copy reads “Talk about online safety. Protect your kids from predators,” and directs to the website, which contains tools and tips providing guidance for parents to talk with children and youth about sexual exploitation.

The creative assets include boards in the washrooms of family restaurants, as well as digital kiosks at SkyTrain stations and transit shelters in Metro Vancouver, complemented by social media and postcards that are being distributed at workshops held by schools and community groups.

And we quote: “Kids often consider strangers who they meet online to be ‘friends’ because they spend so much time together, and we’re seeing that these ‘stranger-friends’ are the people who kids and parents can miss as being red flags. We want parents and children to learn what to be on the lookout for so they can recognize, prevent and intervene.” — Camila Jimenez, program manager, Children of the Street

Chris Powell