Mom Squad: Sextortion | | #childpredator | #onlinepredator | #sextrafficing

CLEVELAND — There’s a trend happening all over the country, a dangerous one, and its lingering on your child’s phone. It’s called “sextortion.”

Last year alone, the FBI received 7,000 reports of minors being targeted. 

Sextortion is like catfishing, where an online predator pretends to be someone of the same age as a teen or minor, gets them to send sexual photos and then threatens to share the photos or commit violent acts if they don’t get money from the child.

This past spring, Streetsboro teen James Woods was victimized within a matter of hours and committed suicide. His family has made it their mission to make families more aware of the dangers.

On today’s Mom Squad, 3News’ Maureen Kyle talks with nationally renowned author and speaker Jesse Weinberger about the dangers of sextortion. Weinberger is the author of The Boogeyman Exists; and he’s in your child’s back pocket and has a podcast “Big Mama’s House.”

She explains how predators find their victims.

“And if someone’s telling you, ‘You’re so beautiful and you’re not that, you’re not all these things, and you’re just nobody understands you, only I understand you.'”

Weinberger says this happens to not only kids, but adults as well. And most of the predators find their way into kids’ lives online.

“They want to move the conversation to other places, that’s a sign that you might be talking to someone who doesn’t have your best interests at heart, someone who wants to separate you or put a wedge between the victim and their family,” says Weinberger.

That was just part of our in-depth interview about sextortion, how it happens and how quickly it can escalate. This is a must-watch Mom Squad episode and you can watch in the video below.

You can also get the latest Mom Squad episodes on WKYC plus, which streams on Roku, Fire and Apple TV.


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