A list of prominent examples of online harms against youth in Canada in recent years

By The Canadian Press

The federal government is introducing legislation designed to help protect young people in Canada from the dangers they face online. A look at some recent examples: 

Feb. 6, 2024 — Police in Surrey, B.C., disclose details of the suicide in February 2023 of an unnamed 14-year-old, tricked into sharing intimate images as part of a sextortion scheme. A man in Nigeria is facing extortion and child pornography charges.

Oct. 12, 2023 —Carson Cleland, 12, of Prince George, B.C., dies of a self-inflicted gunshot wound. Police and family members say the boy fell victim to an online sextortion scheme. RCMP officials in Prince George had received 62 reports of similar schemes by November of that year alone. 

Feb. 19, 2022 — Daniel Lints, 17, takes his own life after being coerced into sharing an explicit image with someone on Snapchat. Experts said Lints fell victim to a sophisticated, increasingly common ruse designed to exploit and torment teenage boys on platforms like Instagram and Snapchat.

April 7, 2013 — Rehtaeh Parsons, 17, of Halifax, died by suicide after an intimate photo of her was taken without her consent at a 2011 party and shared with other students at her school and beyond, resulting in extensive cyberbullying. Two boys were later charged. An independent review of the case later concluded Parsons “did not receive the support and assistance a young person in crisis required.” 

Oct. 10, 2012 —Port Coquitlam teenager Amanda Todd died by suicide after being targeted by cyberbullying. Before her death, Todd posted a video on YouTube using flash cards to describe her ordeal of being tormented by an anonymous attacker, who blackmailed Todd to expose herself in front of a webcam. Dutch national Aydin Coban was convicted in the B.C. Supreme Courtin 2022of child pornography, child luring and criminal harassment. 

April 20, 2008 — Police recover the body of Nadia Kajouji, 18, from the Rideau River in Ottawa after the Carleton University student took her own life at the urging of someone she was in touch with online. That turned out to be William Melchert-Dinkel, a former nurse in Minnesota, who was convicted in Kajouji’s case of one count of attempted assisting suicide. He was released in 2015 after serving 178 days in jail.  


If you or someone you know is thinking about suicide, support is available 24/7 by calling or texting 988, Canada’s national suicide prevention helpline.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 26, 2024.

The Canadian Press

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