Sextortion & Your Child - Part 2
Last week, we started the discussion about Sextortion and Your Child. This week, we’re back to finish up the discussion.
What Are The Warning Signs Parents Should Look For?
Victims of sextortion will typically withdraw from family members and/or their friends. They can experience anxiety; psychological trauma; bullying; self-harm; and in extreme cases, even express a desire to dropout of school or develop suicidal thoughts.
How Can Teens & Tweens Avoid The Risk Of Sextortion?
- Remember that if you send something to one person, you’re really sending it to everyone. There is no longer ANY privacy that can be assumed - even between friends.
- Don’t sext. Just don’t. It’s never a good idea.
- If you don’t know who’s sending you something, don’t open it or respond.
- Keep talking to your parents about your social media and online reputation.
If Your Child Gets Caught Up In Sextortion, What Can You Do?
Chances are that your child, like most teens and tweens, thinks that s/he is invincible. Having to come to you when something goes wrong is akin to drinking poison.
The first thing you can do once you know about it is urge them not to cave in to the demands of the extortionist. If it’s another child, go to their parents and school authorities, if possible.
If it’s an adult, report it to the authorities right away. Do this without telling the extortionist that you’re doing so. If they think there’s a chance they’ll get what they want, they won’t follow through with the threat of making the sensitive information public.
Second, don’t play the blame game or let them approach this from a victim mindset. Make sure that your child knows that you are there for them, no matter what.
Third, if this happened on social media, report it to that company. They will help to block the accused account and potentially remove them from the site. They may also be able to help you with the authorities, if you need to produce documentation.
How Can Educators & Other Adults Help Prevent Sextortion In This Schools & Communities?
- Educate themselves and their families or communities about sextortion.
- Talk to their own children about how to stay safe online and teach them to be digitally savvy.
- Urge legislators to enact anti-sextortion laws and make sextortion a crime.
- Report sextortion when they hear of it occurring.
It’s Up To All Of Us To Stop Sextortion!
Smart Girl Society, Inc., is an Omaha-based nonprofit working to educate and inspire smart & confident girls, women, & families. Through educational workshops, civil outreach programs, and technology & social media research, we work with girls, parents, & educators to promote authenticity on social media and in real life. We educate them on how to remain safe on social media and how to avoid becoming a target of sextortion. We also inspire action for students to focus on their personal brand development, leadership, educational opportunities, and healthy social skills. Interested in learning more? Check us out!