Ashley Peters cautions parents of internet dangers for children
Mother says parents must check children's devices and what they're doing online
Ashley Peters is advocating for parents to be more educated about the dangers of the internet after dealing with a scary situation involving her nine-year-old daughter.
Rothesay resident Peters says her daughter wasn't very tech-savvy when she received a tablet two years ago.
"She wasn't on any kind of a device. We were still playing Wii and we were still playing Mario Brothers on the old Nintendo. Her device usage was very minimum."
With the tablet, Peters said her daughter played games and watched videos.
"I tried to be as diligent as possible, checking her usage, didn't think at nine-years-old like what happened would happen. So being faced with that, it was a scary moment."
Peters said life got busy and she didn't check the tablet for a few weeks. She decided one night when she had a quiet moment to sit down and have a look.
"So I start checking and I'm seeing her usual usage, videos and games, a bit of colouring and drawing."
But as Peters continued to check, she noticed an application for Messenger had been downloaded onto the tablet.
"I opened it and I was very shocked to find that she had been chatting with a male adult who claimed he was 18."
Peters says she could see her daughter had been quickly sucked into a conversation with the individual and inappropriate pictures had been shared.
They sent her tablet to the (RCMP) child exploitation unit. Unfortunately, they couldn't find anything. This person was virtually untraceable.- Ashley Peters
"So I sat there in total shock and then I sat and I thought, 'Alright, you're going to have to put your big girl panties on and deal with this'."
Peters said she sat down with her daughter the next day and had what she called the "birds and bees" talk sooner than she planned.
Peters said then her daughter walked her through the program and showed her how it worked.
After that, Peters contacted the police and showed them what her daughter had received.
From that incident, Peters became an advocate for parents to educate themselves about the internet and be aware of what their children are doing online.
"I listen to people and people say, 'this is on my child's phone, this is on my child's device, it's the cool thing to have'," said Peters. "
But she said parents need to be more firm about what children are permitted to have on their device.
"It's the fine line of being the parent and being your child's friend."
She adds parents need to be proactive and be aware of how different applications work and what they can be used for.
"Educate yourself on devices and how to use them," said Peters, adding there are numerous tutorials available to read and watch.
"Sit down with your children and walk through it step by step. You'll find that they'll be more open to you."