When a Child Self-Violates, Films It and Shares It online, Who is to Blame?
Pedophile/Predator? Parent? Society? App Developer?
This is a powerful discussion about one of the greatest crimes of the Twenty First Century – Sextortion.
Every day thousands of young people across the U.S. meet total strangers on the internet. They develop a trusting relationship based on a fantasy perception of who they are communicating with, and then they are seduced into sending a naked photo, video or sensual text. The blackmail begins.
The challenge is that the victims are becoming younger and younger. Certainly, many 15 to 17 year olds have fallen prey to sextortion, but today we are seeing kids 8 to 12 years old being trapped in this heinous crime. So who is at fault?
Online predators don’t recognize their actions as pedophilia because they never meet or touch the child. Most never allow themselves to see the life-time of destruction they are creating when they get a child to self-violate on camera and share. Many predators are married with children of their own. Most seem surprised at trial when they are sentenced to 30 years (or more) in prison because they never saw their actions as life-changing.
Parents are providing 8 year olds with cell phones believing their child is smarter than most and will be wise when online. Parents are also naively very uninformed about how sextortion works and even more so about how 8 year old kids perceive social media as the door to being a discovered talent and a place to receive world-wide acceptance. Most 8 year olds will not tell once they have been sextorted and carry the shame and guilt. Many parents blame the app developer even when the parent violated the user age policy when they provided the app to the child.
So who is to blame? Society? The app maker? The pedophile? The parent? And even more important, how do we keep our kids safe from predators?
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RESOURCES, LINKS and CASES:
- Hunters. Talkers. Loopers. How the FBI cracked an online child exploitation ring
- Online child porn leader severely beaten, killed in Michigan federal detention center
- Batavia man sentenced to 30 years in globe-spanning child pornography case
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