As with any new technology that comes along, there are always going to be those out there who will attempt to use it for illicit financial gain. Last nights RTE Prime Time featured SEXTORTION, a topic many people may not have been aware of. Sextortion according to Wikipedia “refers to the broad category of sexual exploitation in which abuse of power is the means of coercion, as well as to the category of sexual exploitation in which threatened release of sexual images or information is the means of coercion”. The more appropriate term is Online Sexual Exploitation.
From speaking to children, we have witnessed a huge increase in the amount who are viewing T.V. and Movie content which is unsuitable for them. Almost all of the children are telling us, they have seen the content either on YouTube or Netflix. Children in National Schools have reported how they have been unable to sleep at night, or had disturbing dreams as a direct result of something they had seen on a digital device.
A new study published by the Internet Watch Foundation, has revealed that 98% of victims of Live Streaming, Online Child Exploitation were under 13 years of age. Live streaming allows a user to broadcast live footage of themselves online. This is a feature of many popular social media platforms. The results of the new study, makes for seriously harrowing reading. It is hard to imagine that young people are live streaming themselves being sexually exploited online.
For parents, getting a child to comprehend the concept of an online stranger, can be a difficult task. Children have no yardstick to measure this by. Sometimes the efforts of parents to teach this message, can be unsuccessful. Just by telling a child, not to accept a stranger as a friend, or follower when online, generally will not work.
Students at Coláiste Bríde in Clondalkin, Co. Dublin, recently discovered in a study, that two out of every three people in the school, had received a sexualized image, or had been asked for one. The results led students to launch their own Sexting awareness campaign. Sexting is an obvious source of concern for the parents of young teens. It can also be a big problem for teens themselves. Imagine how difficult it must be, to exist in an online environment, where all of your own friends, followers and peers are exchanging sexualized images.