All School in the UK have recently been sent information from the National Crime Agency, raising awareness of the recent rise in reporting of financially motivated sexual extortion (a type of online blackmail often known in the media as ‘sextortion’). Children and young people worldwide are being targeted.

This type of crime involves an adult offender (often from an organised crime group based overseas) threatening to release nude or semi-nude images and/or videos of a child or young person, unless they pay money, or meet another financial demand, such as purchasing a pre-paid gift card.

Victims of any age and gender can be targets, however a large proportion of cases have involved male victims aged 14-18.

A child or young person is never to blame if they have been a victim. Offenders will have tricked, groomed and/or manipulated them into sharing an image.

Find out more about online blackmail on

Talking to your child 

It’s important to have frequent, open and non-judgmental conversations with your child about relationships, sex and being online to build trust and support them if something goes wrong. Financially motivated sexual extortion should be included in those conversations. Here are some tips about how to approach this:

  • CHAT REGULARLY ABOUT THEIR LIFE ONLINE: have ongoing conversations with them about their life and time online. Continue to take an interest as they grow, explore new apps and sites together and talk in a balanced way, considering the benefits and the potential harms.
  • TALK ABOUT WHERE TO FIND INFORMATION ABOUT RELATIONSHIPS AND SEX: organisations like CEOP Education, Childline and Brook have age-appropriate advice topics such as sexual communication and image sharing. This will help your child to understand what unhealthy relationships look like, such as applying pressure and blackmail; and give them trusted sources of information to explore these topics.
  • REVIEW PRIVACY SETTINGS: talk to your child about the importance of using privacy settings on their accounts to restrict who can contact them.
  • MAKE SURE THEY KNOW WHERE TO GO FOR SUPPORT: let them know they can come to you with any concerns and wont be judged.
  • MAKE SURE THEY KNOW WHERE TO REPORT: let me know that if  nude or semi-nude of them has been shared without consent, they can take these 3 easy steps to try and get them removed:
  1. Use Report Remove, a tool from childline and the internet watch foundation.
  2. Use Take It Down, a tool from the national center for missing and exploited children.
  3. Report directly to the platform or app that the incident has occurred on.

What to do if this happens to your child?

  • Don’t pay, do stop contact and block
  • Avoid deleting anything
  • Report to the police or CEOP
  • Reassure them that they have done the right thing by telling