What parents and teenagers need to know about sextortion

Updated: Jun. 21, 2021 at 6:19 PM CDT
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BAY COUNTY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - Sextortion can be a form of blackmail.

”When an individual sends a pornographic photograph or video of themselves to another individual and that individual, in turn, demanding things or they will show the image or video to other people,” Panama City Police Department Corporal Kristain Shaw said.

Sextortion, or sexual exploitation, is becoming more of a problem, especially for teenagers.

”We are seeing more and more reports being made about child pornography and more and more of those reports are images that have been taken by the child themselves and then sent to a lot of the time, a complete stranger,” Bay County Sheriff’s Office Lieutenant Jeremy Mathis said.

He went on to say the best way to avoid being “sextorted” is to not send any sexual content of yourself to anyone.

”The simplest way to put it is it is like ringing a bell, you can’t unring it, once you send the picture to the internet you can’t get it back it is on the internet. Whoever gets it gets it and there is no way to stop it. There is no way to get it back there is no way to undo clicking that sends button,” Lieutenant Mathis said.

Law Enforcement officials say there are things they need parents and teens to know about sextortion.

Educating yourself as a parent to know what platforms the kids are using, there is software out there you can put on a child’s phone where you can access it remotely. Checking their devices, nightly, weekly whenever you deem appropriate. If you see something, say something.

Law enforcement officials say while teenagers and children are usually targeted for sextortion, it can happen to anyone.

They say before hitting that send button, think twice about any possible consequences.

Authorities say sextortion is a serious crime and if you’re a victim of it to call law enforcement right away.

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