According to Kingston Police and the Canadian Centre for Child Protection, there is “an increasing and very serious trend involving Canadian youth being extorted for money.”
In a press release on Tuesday, Dec. 31, 2019, Kingston Police said there has been a concerning rise in teenagers reporting issues regarding video communication with adults posing as teens. Offenders are secretly recording teenagers sexually exposing themselves on social media and online platforms that allow users to communicate via video feed. The offenders then turn around and threaten to share the sexual content if the victim won’t pay money – often hundreds of dollars.
At the same time, a similar issue is taking place involving a new tactic. In these situations, the offender involves the youth’s peer group, extorting other teenagers within the same social peer group. The victim’s friends are being show sexual images/videos of their peer, and being told that if they do not share a sexual image of themselves, the offender will distribute the images/videos of their friend.
“This tactic appears to be used to expand the number of teens being extorted for money, which can range from $200 – $1,000,” police said.
Kingston Police said that, although many teens understand the dangers associated with recording and sharing sexual images and videos, they may not be aware of the risks associated with live video feeds, or streaming.
“With relative ease over live streaming, anyone can capture a still image or video of a person sexually exposing themselves, all without the other person’s knowledge,” police said.
“Parents need to have regular, open dialogue with their teen around this topic encouraging the teen to seek parental support in situations like this. It is also important to talk to teens about never complying with threats online, since in most cases this will only make matters worse,” the press release continues.
“Parents should openly discuss the importance of their children coming forward if they or their peers are facing concerning online situations. It is also important to discuss the risks associated to live streaming and agreeing to do something sexual online.”
Kingston Police are strongly encouraging parents to take the time to learn more about ways to increase their teen’s safety online by visiting: