One of the biggest online threats is online exploitation of children. This is also known as online enticement, which involves a person communicating with a child via the Internet with the intent to commit a sexual crime or abduction.
This includes but is not limited to child sexual molestation, creating/distributing child sexual abuse material, engaging in child sex trafficking, creating/distributing child porn, sending unsolicited obscene materials to a child, and more.
This type of crime takes place across all platforms: social media, messaging apps, gaming platforms, etc.
If you suspect someone is endangering a child online, you can, and should, report it.
If you are looking for how to report other online threats like cyberbullying, we encourage you to go to StopBullying.gov. This blog post is specifically about reporting online threats which sexually exploit children.
The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children provides the following information on red flags for online enticement specifically:
The most common tactics used to entice children include:
- Engaging in sexual conversation/role playing as a grooming method, rather than a goal.
- Asking the child for sexually explicit images of themselves or mutually sharing images.
- Developing a rapport through compliments, discussing shared interests or “liking” their online post, also known as grooming.
- Sending or offering sexually explicit images of themselves.
- Pretending to be younger.
- Offering an incentive such as a gift card, alcohol, drugs, lodging, transportation or food.
How To Report Online Threats
If you want to make a report of child exploitation (remember, that’s when a person communicates with a child via the Internet with the intent to commit a sexual crime or abduction), you can use The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children’s CyberTipline. This is the nation’s centralized reporting system for online exploitation of children.
Specially trained analysts will review and process your report, then make it available to the appropriate law enforcement agency.
Is Your Image Out There?
If you need help removing inappropriate content of your child or yourself, you can do two things: you can report the image to the CyberTipline and you can learn how to remove the content with the platform directly.
You can do so by visiting the How To Remove Explicit Content page on the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children’s website.