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Sextortion is a growing ‘epidemic’ expert warns

A growing number of children all around the world are being forced into taking explicit photos and videos of themselves online, an expert has warned on Monday.

The term ‘sextortion’ means children are first lured into taking naked photos or videos of themselves, and then blackmailed into making more.

If they don’t comply, they are threatened that the photos will be distributed to their friends and family.

The Telegraph (opens in new tab) talked to Bob Lotter, the creator of online safety tool My Mobile Watchdog.

He said his company is dealing with an “epidemic” of sextortion cases.

“We have seen children involved in revenge porn and sextortion, and this is on the increase,” said Mr Lotter. It is remarkable that these concepts even enter the minds of such young children.”

Children as young as 12 are often victims, he says, adding that 14-year-olds are the most common age group.

“We have dealt with a case which involved children as young as 12, although 14-year-olds are the most exploited age group. In general, sexting is reaching epidemic proportions.”

Children are easily lured, and Mr Lotter says his online tool allows parents to control and monitor their children’s online activities.

“It is very easy to draw an unsuspecting child into becoming a victim of sextortion,” he says.

“They get a message from someone they don’t know who sends them a picture, perhaps pretending to be a member of the opposite sex. Then they send a naked picture and ask the victim to send them one back, and before they know it the child is being extorted for more photographs.”

Sead Fadilpašić is a freelance tech writer and journalist with more than 17 years experience writing technology-focussed news, blogs, whitepapers, reviews, and ebooks. And his work has featured in online media outlets from all over the world, including Al Jazeera Balkans (where he was a Multimedia Journalist), Crypto News, TechRadar Pro, and IT Pro Portal, where he has written news and features for over five years. Sead's experience also includes writing for inbound marketing, where he creates technology-based content for clients from London to Singapore. Sead is a HubSpot-certified content creator.