A very important message has been shared on social media overnight advising parents that they need to teach their teens about ‘Sextortion’.
The thought bloody terrifies us and we wanted to share it with our community to help spread awareness as much as possible.
Offenders often target people through dating apps, social media, webcams, or porn sites. More often, we are seeing teens being targeted through DM requests on Instagram.
Teens are curious, and potential child predators often prey on this.
A recent case referred to the Police highlights how terrifying sextortion can be for young teens.
Safe on Social Media shared how a 16-year-old girl checked her direct message requests and accepted them (as most teens usually do even though this is very dangerous). She found a message that read:
“If you don’t send me a nude in 60 secs I will send this image to your friends and say it is you”
Alongside the message was a cropped image of a naked young woman laying on a bed. The 16yr old responded, saying that she would report them. Again they gave her 60secs.
She responded with some profanities in an attempt to shut down the conversation. The blackmailer went ahead and sent the image through another DM to three boys that were on her friend’s list.
The perpetrator had done their research, and they knew the boys lived in the same town as they played sport together and had commented on a recent post. This is easy to figure out through a public account on Instagram and why setting an Instagram account to private is a must.
The person targeting her was blocked but kept coming through under multiple different account names. She took screenshots to use as evidence. They were all reported to Instagram and blocked.
After the young girl disclosed her situation, Safe on Socials notified her mother and the Police so that they were fully informed if the images were shared by other teens who may have believed it was her. They contacted the teens involved who had received the photo and shut the whole situation down very quickly.
Things you need to discuss with your teens to keep them safe
As Safe on Social Media shared, this is a very important discussion you need to have with your teens asap to make them aware of the dangers they may face via sextortion.
Let them know that they can always speak to you without judgment, that you will help them if they make a mistake online and something goes wrong. They need to know that they should never be afraid to speak up. Do not ban them from their device if they are brave enough to speak up about something that has happened to them online.
They should never accept DM requests through Instagram, assure them it will never be a friend (if it is, they will contact through other means). There may be a sinister side, and accepting a DM request is not safe.
Ask them to show you the DM request section if you are not an Instagram user and ask how they report and block to be assured that they know what to do when things go wrong.
Make sure they know not to pay or respond to the demands at all. They should not engage at all.
Teach them that they should take screenshots if something happens so they have evidence for the authorities.
If you are in Australia, help your teen to make an image-based abuse report to www.esafety.gov.au Or report to local Police or Crimestoppers.
If you are not in Australia, immediately contact your local Police for advice and to make a report.