Parents - stay aware!
Posted 3/15/21, 11:06 AM
During the COVID-19 Pandemic, children have had more access and been more active on the internet than ever before. This has left them vulnerable to cyber predators.
Law Enforcement Agencies all over the country are experiencing a type of exploitation known as sextortion. Sextortion begins when a predator reaches out to a young person over a video game, app, or social media account. Through deception, manipulation, money and gifts, or threats, the predator convinces the young person to produce an explicit video or image. When the young person starts to resist requests for more images, the predator will use threats of harm or exposure of the images to pressure the child to continue producing content.
Those involved in the sextortion of children often:
• Approach a child on social media after using it to learn about the child’s interests, friends, school, family, etc.
• Intentionally move their communications with the child from one online platform to another (e.g., moving from social media to private video chat or messaging apps)
• Use tactics to coerce a child, including:
o Reciprocation (“I’ll show you, if you show me”)
o Initially offering something to the child, such as money or drugs, in exchange for sexually explicit photos/videos
o Pretending to work for a modeling agency to obtain sexual images of the child
o Developing a bond with the child by establishing a friendship/romantic relationship
o Secretly recording sexually explicit videos of the child during video chats
o Physically threatening to hurt or sexually assault the child or the child’s family members
o Using multiple online identities to contact a child
o Pretending to be younger and/or a member of the opposite sex
o Accessing the child’s online account without authorization and stealing sexual images or videos of the child
o Threatening to create sexual images or videos of the child using digital-editing tools
o Saving sexually explicit conversations with the child and threatening to post them online
Please be vigilant against these predators by talking to your children, monitoring their phones for unapproved apps, explaining the dangers of predators, explaining that once a photo is sent it is out of their control, and to never share personal information over the internet.
If you know of a child that has been enticed over the internet by a predator please contact your local law enforcement office.
More detailed information can be obtained from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.