According to Anya Tucker of ABC News 10 in Albany, NY, a new favorite app among teenagers and the younger generation is a gateway for sexual predators to attack, and even commit “sextortion.”
The Omegle application’s motto is TO talk to strangers (not stay away from them, as we learn as children). The app lets you randomly connect and chat with strangers from all over the world.
Tucker says, “Kids seem to love it. Some post their webchats, pranks and even sexually explicit exchanges right on YouTube.”
There’s another problem. Your kids aren’t always connecting with other kids. They can easily be connecting with grown adults who pretend to be much younger than their actual age by engaging and interacting via chat, photo and video sharing.
“With a mix of kids and sexual overtones, it may come as no surprise that police say its growing number of fans now includes sexual predators,” explains Tucker.
To dig deeper, Tucker met with an investigator (identity withheld) who has dedicated his entire career to hunting down sexual predators for local law enforcement and even the FBI. What has he found children to be doing on Omegle?
They are sending personal information and photos and videos of themselves. According to the investigator, “these photos often lead to a kind of blackmail, better known as Sextortion.” The article explains that sextortion is when a predator extorts increasingly sexual photos and video from young victims, then threatens them into silence by instilling the fear that this person will expose their intimate conversation or photos via email to family members, Facebook friends, classmates, etc.
Once a child sends just one photo, the investigator explains that the predator already knows that “They own them. They do. And they will send more pictures. Or we have cases where videos are sent; graphic videos. We’ve had kids as young as 8-years-old that are sending videos.”
Arrests in connection to Omegle are growing, but the most important lesson to take away from this is to check your child’s social media activity and openly communicate with them!
See the full article and video here: