Sextortion is defined as a criminal act that occurs when someone demands something of value, usually money, images of a sexual nature or sexual favors, from another person. According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, there has been a rapid increase in the solicitation of these incidents from minors over the internet.
The FBI reports that children ages 10 through 17 have been increasingly sexually exploited and ‘sextorted’ by internet predators. Fortunately, there are several steps parents can take to ensure the safety of their children when browsing the Internet and engaging in activities on social media:
- Communicate with your children about the dangers of socializing with strangers online, sending photos or engaging in other risky behaviors. Let them know that they can always come to you without fear of repercussions regarding their online safety.
- Use basic security measures to confirm Internet safety: change passwords frequently, update software and avoid opening email attachments unless you know the sender.
- Make sure your children are utilizing their own security measures; they should be turning off their computer when not n use, covering webcams with removable stickers and reporting all potential incidents of sextortion to the appropriate party.
To report information or crimes regarding sexual exploitation or ‘sextortion,’ call your local FBI office or toll-free at 1-800-CALL-FBI (225-5324).
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