Plugged In: The Growing Risk of Online Sextortion

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– with Internet Safety Specialist Joe Dugan, Maryland Internet Crimes Against Children Task ForceSextortion is a serious crime that occurs when someone threatens to distribute your private and sensitive material unless you provide them images of a sexual nature, sexual favors, or money. Sextortion can happen across all platforms and the scenario is pretty much the same.

Most victims of sextortion are teenage girls, but here in Maryland we’ve seen some areas of the state with an increase of teenage boys becoming victims. These boys think they are communicating with a teenage girl, who then convinces them to send explicit images or videos. Whereas girls are usually sextorted for more explicit imagery, boys are typically extorted for money, and the sextortionists are quite often located outside the U.S.

When our children fall prey to a sextortionist, it can be a horror that seems to have no end. The best way to protect our children is by being a part of your child’s life and keeping the lines of communication open. If you are a part of your child’s life, they may feel more comfortable coming to you with their problems. If your child does come to you with a problem like this, remember they are the victim and that moving forward as a team will be best for everyone.