Youth sextortion: what it is, how to avoid it and what to do if it happens
Director - Social Purpose Programs, For Good and TELUS Wise
In October 2022, the Canadian Centre for Child Protection reported that they have received an unprecedented volume of reports from youth, and sometimes their concerned parents, about falling prey to aggressive sextortion tactics. But what exactly is sextortion?
Sextortion is a form of severe cyberbullying and blackmail. It's when an online predator threatens to send an intimate image and/or video of the target if they do not comply with specific demands. Often the perpetrator will ask for money or more intimate images.
In support of Pink Shirt Day, Apryl Munro, Influencer and TELUS Wise advocate sat down with Carol Todd, Founder of the Amanda Todd Legacy Society and Signy Aranson, Associate Executive Director at the Canadian Centre for Child Protection, to gather valuable information for parents on how sextortion occurs, ways to help prevent it, and what to do if it happens to your children.
Here are a few key takeaways:
Sextortion is on the rise: Cybertip.ca currently receives an average of 70 sextortion reports per week. Typically, boys are extorted for money whereas girls are extorted for additional intimate images
- Common tactics used by perpetrators:
- Flattery, compliments and support
- Promises of a better life, loving relationship and gifts like money, drugs and alcohol.
- Turning youth against parents and trusted adults and encouraging youth to keep their exchanges a secret
Mitigating the risk with open dialogue: Don’t wait until your child is a teenager to talk about online risks; have ongoing conversations about safe and healthy smartphone and technology usage.
Never comply with a threat: Have your child immediately stop all communication and report it to your local police and Cybertip.ca
Watch this impactful discussion about the growing risk of sextortion and what you can do about it here.