Sextortion occurs when an offender threatens to share sexual images or videos of a child or youth to coerce them into providing additional sexual content, favours or money. These interactions can take place between two peers but are most commonly an adult stranger looking to target young people online.
The connection between an adult and a child is often made on social media or a streaming platform. Once trust has been established, the offender will persuade the child or youth to send sexual content or perform sexual acts while on video chat. This material of the child is then used against them if they refuse to send more content.
Increased awareness of sextortion can reduce the risk of a child or youth interacting online with a potentially dangerous person.
According to Cybertip.ca, a few warning signs to look out for are:
- Everything happens quickly: Offender begins immediately requesting personal information, photos or to live chat.
- Provides inconsistent information: Details the offender shares while chatting do not match up with what they are posting.
- Chatting becomes sexual: Conversation topics turn sexual, or an offender begins expressing intense or intimate feelings to the child or youth.
- Using threats: Offender uses threats that will shame or scare the child or youth to persuade them into sharing more content and information.
- Attention bombing: The child or youth is manipulated into believing that the offender cares about them through constant communication and attention.
To learn more about the types of sextortion and where it begins, check out our Alberta CACs blog post here: https://www.albertacacs.ca/blog/what-is-sextortion