The New “Talk” Parents Should Have with Their Teen Children

Gone are the days when the most mischief a teenager could stir up with a phone was limited to making prank calls. The current digital landscape, with its myriad of online platforms, has ushered in a host of undesired behaviors that can have severe consequences, some even leading to tragic outcomes like teen suicide. The assumption that such risks won’t touch our own children is no longer acceptable. Parents must confront the dangers head-on, particularly the rising threat of “sextortion.”

What is Sextortion?

A father and a son having some alone time and having a serious conversation.Sextortion, a term not widely known among parents, involves the coercion of children and teens into sharing explicit images online, often leading to extortion for additional explicit material or money. Shockingly, in 2022 alone, authorities received reports of over 7,000 cases of sextortion, with 3,000 victims being teenagers, predominantly male. More distressing is the fact that 12 teens, victimized by this new form of crime, have tragically taken their own lives.

How Does this Happen?

With almost every teenager having internet access, usually through their smartphones, the risk is eFather tries to talk to his son, and troubled teenager begins to listen. Father reaches out with his hand. ver-present. Predators exploit everyday online platforms, such as social media and gaming sites, by creating fake accounts and posing as peers with shared interests. These adept con artists easily befriend vulnerable teens, cultivating not only common interests but also a curiosity about intimacy and physical relationships. Once trust is established, teens may unwittingly share explicit photos, falling prey to the predator’s trap. The extortion begins as predators demand money or additional explicit content under the threat of exposing the teen’s images to friends or on social media. The resulting guilt and embarrassment often lead teens to comply, enduring months of blackmail and harassment.

What can be done?

Parents must engage in open conversations with their children about the dangers of sextortion. Waiting and assuming a child will seek help if needed is no longer an option.  Address the severity of sextortion, emphasizing how both boys and girls can become victims of these online manipulators. Make it clear that virtual friendships and relationships may not always have benign intentions. If your child falls victim to such crimes, assure them it’s normal to feel embarrassed or ashamed, emphasizing that they should not attempt to navigate the situation alone.

In the unthinkable event that your child becomes a victim, maintain a calm demeanor to resolve the situation without causing additional harm. Refrain from responding to the perpetrator’s demands, block the person or site, but crucially, do not delete the conversation. This information is vital for authorities, whom you should promptly report the incident to. Local law enforcement or the FBI can be contacted through their website ( to address this grave issue and protect the well-being of our youth.  Additionally, it’s crucial to recognize the emotional impact the experience has had on your child and, if necessary, seek guidance from a mental health professional for counseling.



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Posted: December 21, 2023

Category: Home Management, Relationships & Family, Work & Life
Tags: Child Safety, Child Trafficking, Family, Kids, Sex Trafficking, Sextortion

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