Monday, October 17, 2011


That’s what the parents of three teenage girls in Indianapolis, Indiana thought. Nevertheless, at a party with a webcam, they visited an Internet chat room. One thing let to another, and the boys at the other end dared them to flash their breasts. They did, but no problem, right? The boys were in some other state, far away, and they’d never hear from them again.

A week passed. Then one of the girls received a series of threats by e-mail. She was told to either email more explicit pictures and videos of herself , “or I’ll post your pictures to all your MySpace friends.”

Did the girl then confess to her parents what she had done? No, she complied with his demand at least twice. (Police and federal authorities eventually became involved and indicted a 19-year-old Maryland man for the crime of "sextortion.”)


Teens are more vulnerable to blackmail because they're easy to intimidate and embarrassed to tell their parents. The result is that they will do almost anything to keep naked pictures of themselves from getting out.

          Jonathan, 24, extorted nude photos from more than 50 young women who were on Facebook or MySpace.

          Anthony, 18, posed as a girl on Facebook to trick male high school classmates into sending him nude cell phone photos, which he then used to extort them for sex.

          A 31-year-old man hacked into more than 200 computers and threatened to expose nude photos he found unless their owners (many of them juveniles) posed for more sexually explicit videos.

Here is a suggestion to any of you parents with a teen daughter. Have a dead serious talk with her about the danger of sexting. Explain that if, despite your warnings, she takes some revealing pictures of herself and sends them to anyone on Planet Earth, she may soon get a threat to take and send more pictures, or else. Kindly explain to her that she will at this point have two options:

Plan A. She can confess to you and ask for your help. There will be some consequences such as grounding involved, but this will pass and you love her and will help her.

Plan B. She can submit to the threats and send the blackmailer whatever he asks for. Explain that this will eventually come to light anyway and at that point, life as she’s known it will disappear.

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