Sextortion is an internet crime in which young girls and boys are being increasingly targeted. A young life can be turned upside down by an online predator who takes advantage of youth and vulnerability to terrorize and demand sexually explicit images.

Sextortion [sexual + extortion] is a form of sexual exploitation that happens when a perpetrator uses coercion to obtain sexual images, videos, money, or even sex from a victim, including children and teens. Victims of sextortion can suffer negative effects on establishing their identity, developing self-esteem, and gaining social recognition, all of which can persist throughout their life if not handled with care.

Protect Yourself Against Sextortion

FBI investigators experienced in online child sexual exploitation cases offer these simple tips for young people who might think that sextortion could never happen to them:

  • Be vigilant on the internet. It is impossible to guarantee that the person you are speaking with is who they say they are, or if they’re acting in a genuine manner.
  • Don’t send pictures to strangers. As a general rule on the internet, don’t post any pictures of yourself online that you wouldn’t show to your grandmother.
  • If you find yourself being targeted by an online predator, you are not to blame. They are taking advantage of you.
  • If you are being targeted by an online predator, tell someone. If you feel you can’t talk to a parent, tell a trusted teacher or counselor. You can also call the FBI, the local police, or the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children’s CyberTipline.
  • You might be afraid or embarrassed to talk with your parents, but they will most likely understand. A common regret among parents of abused children is that they wish their child had told them about the situation sooner so that they could help. A good parent or guardian is understanding, sympathetic, and just wants to help you.

Consider a parental control app or OffenderWatch family safety app monitoring your child’s activity.