Taking nude or erotic photos of yourself can often put you in a very vulnerable position no matter the situation. Showing other people such things is a very intimate act, but it can come with many high risks.
To any “Black Mirror” fans, the term “Sextortion” might sound familiar. It is a crime describing the practice of extorting money or sexual favors from someone by threatening to reveal evidence of their sexual activity. The third season episode “Shut Up and Dance” is a clear example of this, where an online hacker threatens the main character with exposing their sexual activity unless they indulge in a “fight to the death” with another victim in the same position. “Black Mirror’s” premise is to highlight the growing power of technology, which really compliments this topic. Despite the show being mainly for entertainment, but known for its gruesome twists and turns, this topic is very relevant today when it comes to the world’s youth.
A recent example of this is the case of Jordan DeMay. He committed suicide after an account under the pseudonym Dani Robberts demanded $1000 after persuading him to send explicit images to the account. Under loads of pressure, scared of his family, peers, and loved ones seeing the photos, he sent the account $300. But for scammerwho was really a grown man name Samual Ososhi, that wasn’t enough. This led to DeMay’s unfortunate suicide, which is sadly common for most sextortion victims.
"My son was smart. He was a good student. He was a great athlete," John DeMay tells me. "Someone came to his bedroom at 3 in the morning and murdered him through Instagram when we were all sleeping at night, and we had zero chance to stop it."https://t.co/7MBLvWdIiw
— Audrey Conklin (@audpants) June 14, 2023
The demographics of these victims are mainly young boys in adolescence. The FBI reported that last year that there were 7000 reported cases of sextortion with more than a dozen suicides within minors, according to Good Morning America. These crimes don’t just occur on social media, as these scammers go on game sites and video chats to target these young boys, mainly those age 14-17. These interactions can also lead to human trafficking, with some examples having hackers use this exploitation to lure children into kidnapping. This can be seen with the United States vs. Buster Hernendez case, where he was charged with sexually exploiting a minor, along with threatening to kill, kidnap, and/or kill an individual.
How can you prevent sextortion from happening to you? Here are some things to remember.
DON’T send nudes. PERIOD!
No matter how tempting it is, don’t do it! Especially when it’s someone you don’t know. There are other ways to be intimate with people that DON’T include technology.
WATCH who you talk to.
In today’s world, you don’t know who has your best interest at heart. To stay safe, stick to the people you know! If you do decide to make a new friend, arrange for a face-to-face meeting. If there is always an issue with making that happen, take that as a red flag and stop communication.
Stay on SAFE SPACES when surfing the internet.
Don’t go onto sketchy websites, and don’t talk to people you don’t know in person.
REPORT suspicious activity.
If you find an account coercing you to send nude photos, block the account and tell an adult. You can also contact your local FBI field office. Call 1-800-CALL-FBI, or report it online at tips.fbi.gov
Thanks for reading, and stay safe out there.
By Jada Strong, Sophomore at Whitney Young Magnet
True Star Media’s content is made possible thanks to donors like you. To support the voice and perspective of your youth, donate at elevate.truestarfoundation.org.