Online 'sextortion' against children growing, feds urge back-to-school awareness
Federal officials and advocates say online sex-related extortion against children is growing, and they are urging educators and parents to help raise awareness at back-to-school events.
They say they see a rise in so-called sextortion, which often involves adults posing as someone younger on social media to get minors to send them inappropriate photos or video. Offenders typically threaten to post the images they obtain — or send them to others — unless they are sent more explicit images.
“It’s not uncommon,” said Michelle DeLaune, chief operating officer at the nonprofit National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, based in Alexandria. “It’s something that we see every day and it’s something that’s concerning because it can inflict a tremendous amount of damage on a child.”