What does it mean to protect your child? Child protection refers to safeguarding children from harm. How can we do this when Sextortion is at an all-time high? Children around the world are being subjected to sextortion and other forms of criminal behavior. How can we look our children in the eye and tell them they are safe when they aren’t? Sextortion is ripping its way through this country tearing apart families in its path. In this article, we are going to cover the 17-year-old student dead after sextortion, educate teens about scams and sextortion, and go in-depth on how to prevent this from happening to your child.
What really happened Ryan Stuart?
Sextortion is the practice of extorting money or sexual favors from someone by threatening to reveal evidence of their sexual activity. The FBI has been receiving over 18,000 sextortion-related crime complaints in 2021.
Ryan Stuart was a straight-A student in Highschool, with a bright future ahead of him. Was approached by a blackmailer pretending to be a young girl. Once his trust was gained, they exchanged explicit photos and almost immediately the threats began. First demanding over 5,000$ ensuring if he didn’t pay the photos would be shared with his family and friends. The teen panicked and explained he could not pay that amount. Eventually, the amount came down to 150$ which he then paid from his college fund. After payment was made, the blackmailers right away started asking for more money. Unfortunately, in the case of Ryan, we will never know the extent of the full story. Ryan’s mom said goodnight to him at 10 pm. By 2 am, he had been scammed and had taken his life.
“How could these people look at themselves in the mirror knowing that $150 is more important than a child’s life?”
“There’s no other word but ‘evil’ for me that they care much more about money than a child’s life. I don’t want anybody else to go through what we did.” -Pauline Stuart (Victim’s mother)
Ryan’s family members are urging parents to talk to their children about online sextortion and to tell them that they can approach them if they make a mistake.
What is the best way to discuss Sextortion with your children?
Awareness is knowledge or perception of a situation. It’s important to talk openly about sextortion. Here are some examples of how to communicate with your children about sextortion scams:
- Ask what they know about sextortion and if they have ever received any images or content they didn’t ask for, and what they would do if they were in a situation where that happened.
- Let them know they can always come to you if a criminal ever targets them and they won’t be in trouble for speaking up. Encourage them to block any messages from strangers or unknown accounts.
- Make sure they understand that sharing intimate photos or videos of themselves or anyone else is not a good idea.
- Always remind them, if they are targeted that they will recover from whatever embarrassment occurs. Let them know it’s not their fault. They are in fact the victim of a very serious crime.
How to Prevent Sextortion
If you are talking online, it can be hard to gauge if the person you are talking to is real or a sextortionist. We suggest you follow these simple rules when chatting online:
- Treat online connections cautiously.
- If you are feeling emotionally charged, avoid engaging strangers.
- If they want to move platforms right away, take that as a red flag. It is a good idea to be alert to anyone who moves too fast or presses you for personal information.
- Check their social media profiles, A lot of fake accounts use stolen pictures if you can, reverse image search the content, if it brings up other accounts you will know it’s a fake profile. Keep all of your social media accounts as private as possible.
- Never send anyone compromising photos or videos.
Report the crime
Make sure if a sextortion crime occurred report, it right away. You can file a report through your local police station. You can also go online and report directly to the FBI, using their internet crimes complaint center. It is also encouraged to get third-party help immediately. Digital Investigation is a leading expert in this field, they can help you resolve the problem for good. Report Sextortion today to learn more about how we can help you fight back against sextortion.
988 has been designated as the new three-digit dialing code that will route callers to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. You can Dial this number 24/7 Toll-free. 1 in 3 victims is staying silent. You are not alone. Share your story and save a life. Report sextortion to sextortion helpline ASAP