Sexting: Online “Sextortion” of Teens Increasing
Federal Authorities have made it official: online cases of sexual extortion or sexual exploitation of teenagers are mounting. It starts with a teen who takes a nude photograph of him/herself. At first glance, it seems harmless. They send the photo to a boyfriend or girlfriend via cell phone. This act is otherwise known as sexting, but things subsequently take a turn for the worst. When the couple argues or breaks up, that same seemingly innocent photograph is sent to third-parties and posted on the Internet. Once the photos reach the Web, they are practically impossible to take down. Now, the poster sends the victim email threats, requesting for more photos or videos of sexually explicit acts. If the victim refuses to oblige, the poster threatens to expose them more. It’s a scary situation and it’s important for kids to know what they’re getting themselves into.
Here are some tips to help your child from falling victim to “sextortion”:
- Keep in mind that “sextortion” is very difficult to detect, so try to monitor your child’s cell phone and Internet activities as much as possible.
- Remind your child to refrain from sending embarrassing or potentially damaging photographs to anybody, even a relative.
- Do not hesitate to call your local authorities as soon as a threat is made.
- Create a secure and welcoming environment so that your child feels comfortable approaching you or another adult if any problems arise.
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Tagged as: cell phones, cyber stalking, education, friends, information sharing, Internet Safety, Mobile, Online Reputation, parenting, Photo Sharing Safety, Privacy Online, reputation, safety, Sexting, Social Networking Safety, teens online health, text messages