1 in 20 teens report being a victim of ‘sextortion’ according to new study

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Eau Claire (WQOW) – A national survey, with ties to Eau Claire, shows 1 out of 20 teens report someone has threatened to share intimate or embarrassing pictures of them. It’s commonly known as ‘sextortion.’

This research was conducted in 2016 by Dr. Justin Patchin, a UW-Eau Claire Criminal Justice professor, and Dr. Sameer Hinduja, a Florida Atlantic University professor.

5,500 kids between that ages of 12 and 17 filled out the questionnaire. Patchin said researchers don’t know if sextortion is increased or decreased, but they do know it’s common.

“We do know some young people do exchange intimate explicit images and they need to be aware that you could send that image of yourself to someone else and you might not never know where that might end up,” said Patchin.

Patchin said the research he and Hinduja conducted shows LGBTQ teens are twice as likely to send a ‘sexy picture’ to someone than heterosexual teens. One of Patchin’s theories is that non-heterosexual teens could be looking to reach out to someone for validation.

Other findings from the study:

  • Five percent of survey respondents report being a victim of sextortion, and 3 percent of teens admit to threatening to share an explicit image of someone else.
  • Nearly half of the students who said they had been the victim also admit being an offender.
  • Males were more likely to be the victim of sextortion, and much more likely to be an offender.
  • Youth who identified as non-heterosexual were more than twice as likely to be the victim of sextortion.
  • Most teen sextortion experiences occurred within the context of an existing friendship, romantic or otherwise. Few teens were targeted by someone they did not know well.
  • Teens are reluctant to tell adults when they are the victims of sextortion, though girls are significantly more likely than boys to tell a parent.
  • Of the study’s findings, Patchin said he found it especially interesting that so many teens are both victims and offenders of sextortion.
Lindsey Ford

Lindsey Ford

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