Talking to your kids about sextortion

Published: Feb. 21, 2023 at 3:05 PM CST|Updated: Feb. 21, 2023 at 4:18 PM CST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - A recent report from the FBI shows an increase in sextortion cases, specifically targeting young boys.

In these cases, predators pretend to be a young girl or boy and convince the child to send them explicit photos. Then, the scammer uses that as blackmail in exchange for money or gift cards.

“It’ll start off with something simple like ‘take your shirt off’ as a male. Or they’ll say ’take a picture in your bathing suit’ if it’s a female. And then it goes from there to ‘okay I got your picture in a bikini, I don’t think your youth pastor wants to see this, and if you don’t send me another picture, then I’m going to show him this picture,’” said Juvenile Court Attorney Patrick Caver.

Caver said these predators find minors by scrolling through profiles on apps, like Snapchat or Instagram. He said their activity especially picks up around the holidays because teenagers are getting money or gift cards as gifts.

He recommends having an open conversation with your kids about the dangers of talking to strangers on the internet, and checking your child’s phone on a regular basis.

“The parent needs to explain to the children that ‘this is something I am giving you. I’m gonna check it all the time, I’m gonna look at it, I’m gonna know what your password is.’”

Signs that your child is being targeted include being more private about internet use, asking for gift cards if they never have before, and getting defensive when answering questions about their social media time.

If your child is a victim of sextortion, report the incident to the police.

Get news alerts in the Apple App Store and Google Play Store or subscribe to our email newsletter here.