You may not be familiar with the term, but ‘sextortion' is a form of blackmail where someone threatens to share intimate images of you unless you give in to their demands. It has been an issue for more than a decade, with many adults falling victim to this type of online crime. More recently though, it has been reported that there has been a higher rate of adolescent males falling victim, but that is not to say that young females are not also targeted.
Across the globe, organised criminal gangs are using social media, chat apps, instant messaging platforms and online games to target and connect with their victims. Recently, there has been a 400% increase in this type of crime being reported to police in Australia alone with these figures being replicated in most western countries. Any child that uses an online account to connect on social media, chat apps, instant messaging platforms or online games needs to understand the dangers associated with engaging with random people that they don’t know personally. Therefore, it is vitally important for adult carers to be aware of this serious issue and to start having an age appropriate conversation with their young person as early as possible to help protect them from online offenders making demands.
Even though your young person’s online account may be set to private, random people can still message your child. Managing devices can be difficult especially with older teens, but it is important to weigh up the risks and dangers. Sadly, even good kids who never make a poor decision elsewhere in their life, can and do make poor choices online.
This Special Report explains how your young person can fall victim to such a crime and what action to take to support them. We hope you take a moment to reflect on the information offered, and as always, we welcome your feedback. If this raises any concerns for you, a loved one or the wellbeing of your child, please seek medical or professional help.