When Daniel Perry started an online relationship with a girl he met on Skype, little did he know that he would be digging his own grave. He engaged in explicit conversation, performed sexual acts for the girl and even shared nude photos which he didn’t know were being recorded by her. The girl in fact wasn’t a girl and was instead an online adult predator. Eventually, the offender began to blackmail Perry and threatened to share their conversations, pictures and videos if he did not pay money. Not able to deal with the fear and anxiety, he ended up committing suicide. He has however not been the only one to go through such an ordeal; a number of children around the world are forced into performing such actions by online predators.
The blackmailing of children and their exploitation is something which occurs universally. The CEOP (Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre) which works throughout the UK has carried out around 12 operations against cyber crimes which involve children being blackmailed into committing sexual acts. One police operation conducted in Britain led to more than 300 children being discovered who were forced into performing such acts by pedophiles overseas. In Kuwait, 2 brothers were found guilty of exploiting kids online and consequently got jailed for 5 years. Such incidents are very much true and occur throughout the world, the nature of which is very tragic and sad.
Predators online have a way of going about with their activities. With research conducted on the background of the target, they begin to gradually approach them through social media platforms and tend to hide behind a fake identity. Slowly they win their trust after which they go ahead with making the conversations more explicit and eventually bring up the topic of sex. Once the target opens up, they engage into such conversations deeper and take it to further levels. Eventually once they have their hands on what they need, they begin to blackmail the child, reasons for which might include extortion, sadism or sexual gratification.
Online blackmailing is on the rise and its implications are such that it requires the issue to be confronted and for measures to be taken to mitigate it. Parents should educate their children about threats which they could come across online especially online predators and to teach them how to behave in a decent manner when making use of social media platforms. They should be prevented from talking to strangers and sharing too much information with them or even about people who are close to them to someone online. Parents should also give their children the encouragement to report any such case by assuring them that they are on their side and that no harm would come to them. Furthermore, law enforcement agencies should also be trained to deal with such cases in a manner which is quick and effective. While online predators are certainly cowards, they do unfortunately have the ability of having a strong influence on children. Due to this, parents and law enforcement authorities must remain vigilant at all times.