June 2, 2016

Sextortion leads to Teen's Suicide, Donna's Letter to Cosmopolitan's Editor

May was certainly busy! There is no rest when it comes to waging the war to prevent the sexual exploitation of youth online.  June is here and with that in mind, I would like to be able to update you on a few things.
We have been spreading the message about the dangers of sexting, and this message needs to be shared widely to protect our children online.
Sexting has given rise to sextortion which occurs when the person depicted in the sexually explicit photo/video are then extorted for money in exchange for not distributing them to others. Sextortion recently caused a young 13 year old girl to commit suicide due to the shame, humiliation caused by this crime.
The Justice Department released a new "National Strategy for Child Exploitation Prevention and Interdiction" in which it charged, "The threat of extortion directed toward children is not just restricted to the immediate sexual and emotional abuse imposed by the offender on their victims.  Sextortion victims engage in cutting, have depression, drop out of school or grades decline, as well as engage in other forms of self-harm at an alarming rate."
This is another online crime that can be prevented. Parents, it is important that you keep tabs on your children's online activity. One of the most important things to do is to block your kid from being able to see or transmit nude photos or videos. American Family Association has created American Family Online Mobile Filtering. (Learn more here .) Also, please implement our safety tips on all Internet-enabled devices used by your kids. I have also included a short video from our Internet Safety 101SM series (also on our YouTube Channel) on the importance of implementing parental controls on all Internet enabled devices.
Recently, I emailed Cosmopolitan's Editor-in-Chief, Joanna Coles, regarding their recent article on sending the "perfect sext" since there is no such thing as a perfect sext.  Sexting is degrading and harmful and can have lasting impacts emotionally. You too can send a message to Cosmopolitan's Editor-in-Chief by emailing her: inbox@cosmopolitan.com .
Follow Up from Set Free Summit
In April, I spoke at the Set Free Summit. I am excited that the Set Free Summit has recap videos and slides available from the presentations. You can learn more here.
The Set Free Summit wants to continue to help you put the lessons from the conference into action. Please join their Facebook group to collaborate and continue sharing the message about the dangers of pornography with the community.
In case you missed it, I was interviewed in the following publications during the month of May.

Time Magazine - "How to Talk to Your Kids About Snapchat"
World Net Daily - "Cosmo Spills Sizzling Secrets on 'How to Send Perfect Sext'"    
EIE on Cause Network
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