It’s bad enough when minors send nude images of themselves to boyfriends or girlfriends, and those images then get distributed to others.
Besides the psychological damage, children who both send and receive the “sexts” are breaking the law. Something that could result in prosecution and even registration as a sex offender.
And it gets worse.
According to the FBI, the “sextortionists” have gone pro, with individual criminals targeting hundreds of children each. They pretend to be the same age as their victims. They then trick or coerce them into producing child pornography for them. They even get them to recruit friends and siblings.
In a review of forty-three such cases, the FBI found that two victims committed suicide, and ten others attempted to kill themselves. Victims also have their grades decline, drop out of school, get depressed, and engage in cutting and other types of self harm.
The National Centre for Missing and Exploited Children say that reports of sextortion were up 150 percent during the first several months of 2016. This was in comparison to the same time period in 2014.
In 4 percent of the sextortion reports, the children engaged in self-harm, threatened suicide or attempted suicide as a result of the victimization, the Centre said.