Sextortion, an Online Crime Harming Today’s Children, Tweens and Teens

Posted by on Jun 24, 2016 in Blog | 0 comments

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Sextortion, a growing online crime

 

sextortion image

 

Sextortion victims can be left with permanent scars.  It’s important for parents to know what sextortion is in today’s digital world because of the impact it can have on children, tweens and teens.

 

What is sextortion?  According to the FBI, sextortion is a serious crime that is a growing concern.  It’s “a crime exclusive to the digital age. Predators pretend to be teens on social media and gaming sites. They befriend young people, gain their trust and entice them to send lewd photos of themselves. Then they use the photos to extort more and more illicit images.”

 

A new study just released out of the University of New Hampshire with the help of Thorn,  found that “Shame, embarrassment and self-blame were common feelings” of victims.  As a result many victims will not seek help from friends, family or law enforcement.  They also do not report these incidents to social networking sites used for sextortion, such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram etc.

 

The study also found that “almost half of victims are under 18.” Those that are using sextortion are targeting the most vulnerable in society, children, tweens and teens.

 

Sextortion crime rings are on the rise in which a planned targeted social manipulation of vulnerable victims takes place on social networking sites.  91 percent  if victims were found to be targeted this way and 43 percent of victims were targeted by hacking. “For the first time in the history of the world, the global connectivity of the Internet means that you don’t have to be in the same country as someone to sexually menace that person.”

 

What Parents and Teens Can Do:
  • Talk to your kids about this growing crime
  • Teach them that not everyone they encounter online is who they say they are
  • Teach them never to take compromising images of themselves for others and absolutely never send compromising images to others
  • I don’t know about you, but I can’t believe the number of bogus email I’m getting with attachments… Teach your kids not to open attachments if they are not absolutely sure who it’s from and that it’s legit
  • Turn off web cams when they are not using them.  Some hackers can turn web cams on with the victim unaware that it’s on.  The perpetrator then takes images to use for sextortion.

 

Parental awareness is always key to online safety in today’s borderless, connected world in which laws have not kept up with the fast pace of technology and criminal activity.  Parents need to be ever vigilant to protect their kids and teach them about online safety and appropriate behavior online, so that they are not left with permanent scars that can impact them forever.

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