Over a year ago I wrote an article called “The Sexting Craze” (click here to read the article). If you don’t know “Sexting” is sending nude or semi-nude pictures or video via text messaging or the Internet. Back when I wrote the article studies said 20% of teens admitted to sexting. I read an article today sighting the “National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy” study that showed 39% of teens are sending or posting sexually suggestive messages. 39%! So parents this trend is on the rise but the fallout from sexting is getting worse. What can be worse than your child being charged with a federal crime for sexting? Sextortion.
What is “Sextortion”? Sextortion is when teens send nude pictures or videos of themselves via text messaging or the Internet and then are contacted by someone, often pornographers, that tell the teen they will spread their images all over the Internet unless they create more explicit photos or videos for them. Federal prosecutors say this new crime is on the rise and the main victims are teens.
As if we didn’t have enough to worry about as parents. Now we have to add sextortion to the pile. But knowledge is half the battle. And now you know about it. So please talk to your kids about it. Not only are there legal issues they can face (including jail time) if the participate in sexting but now they could get pulled into the seedy world of pornography via sextortion. It’s bad enough if they sent a nude picture or video of themselves to someone at school but just think if they’re blackmailed into sending nude pictures and videos of themselves to a complete stranger. That is a terrifying prospect.