2 out of 3 teens targeted by ‘sextortion’ schemes on social media: Study

The survey included 760 teens in the US.

San Francisco: Nearly two out of every three teenagers have been targeted by sextortion schemes on social media apps, a new study has shown.

According to Snap (the parent company of Snapchat), sextortionists primarily target young men for money on social media apps such as Snapchat, Instagram, Tumblr, Twitter, and Facebook, though girls are also targeted for explicit images and photos, reports Fox Business.

“For young males who have experienced a sextortion incident — and the majority are males — they regularly tell us that when they share the situation with their parents, they feel relieved. We advise them to report to hotlines and helplines, to report to the platforms and to tell their parents, a friend or a trusted adult,” Arda Gerkens, president of Offlimits, the Dutch child abuse hotline formerly known as EOKM, was quoted as saying.

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The survey included 760 teens in the US.

According to the study, about 65 per cent of teens on Snapchat and other apps said they or their friends were victims of sextortion in which they were either “catfished” — tricked into speaking with people lying about their identity online — or hacked for private information, including explicit photos, that were then used against them.

About 51 per cent said they or their friends fell victim to catfishing, and 47 per cent said they were hacked.

Nearly one out of three teens who became targets of these scams shared explicit or private images, the study said.

Moreover, around 56 per cent said they turned to friends, parents or other trusted adults after being threatened online, while 50 per cent said they reported the incident to the platform they were using.

About 40 per cent blocked the perpetrator and 30 per cent updated their account security settings.

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