What Is Sextortion and How Do You Prevent Your Teen from Being a Victim?

What Is Sextortion and How Do You Prevent Your Teen from Being a Victim?

This blog and video come with a trauma warning.  If you or your teen are experiencing depression and need to talk to someone, please call the National Suicide Hotline at 1-800-273-8255.

“Sometimes I feel like I want to give it up, but it’s such a big part of teenage life, I just don’t.” (Teen on Childhood 2.0 Life in the Digital Age)

Do You Know How to Help Protect Your Kids and Teens from Cyberbullying and Sextortion?

Do you feel like you can protect your kids from the dangers online?

Do you feel like your kids need to learn to navigate the digital world on their own?  

After all, they live in the Information Age which surely comes with some benefits.  Us Parents grew up with all of the physical dangers and there’s only so much fear we can take on.  

Parents, we need to adapt and it needs to happen quickly.  

The COVID pandemic has exacerbated process addictions like screen time. 

Statistics show that violent crimes, physical dangers, are not as much of a risk to our children as the harms online, including cyberbullying, sextortion, digital marketing that uses highly successful and strategic neuro-marketing tactics.  

An Important Documentary About Sextortion and Cyberbullying

You and your teen need to watch Childhood 2.0 The Living Experiment to really see what it’s like for our children and teens growing up in the digital age. Parents, we do hard things and it’s time to stop burying our heads in the sand when it comes to our teens and social media and the scariness of what’s out there on the internet.  

If you are the kind of parent who believes “This will never happen to my son or my daughter,” you are living in an alternate reality.  Process addictions like screen time addictions are real.  Youth suicide rates are up and in younger children.  

If you or your teen are experiencing depression and need to talk to someone, please call the National Suicide Hotline at 1-800-273-8255

We can’t control all of the internet, but we also can’t throw our hands up in the air and not do anything and be totally helpless.  

What is Self-Coaching?

When it comes to helping our teens there’s nothing us parents won’t do. 

It’s just that we don’t cause and we don’t control a lot.  Recognizing the reality that we can’t prevent suffering for our teens or ourselves is powerful awareness.  

In this YouTube I am doing the hard work, putting in the time, to coach myself (aka being curious and creating thought awareness) on the topic of sextortion on the internet and our teens.  

This is very hard work, but it’s the most important work us parents need to do for ourselves to truly help our teens.  

You may have heard the tragic news of the high school student who was a victim of sextortion by internet trolls who sent a compromised photo of a girl he knew, or he thought was her, and then asked him to send a photo of himself.  Once he did, he received an email asking for $300 or the photo would be spread on the internet.  He sent the money and then received another email asking for $1,000 or the photo would be shared. He didn’t have the money and panicked and within six hours of receiving the first email he ended his life.  

Why It’s Wrong to Think “This Can’t Happen to My Teen”

If you believe this can’t be your teen, you are wrong. 

I was panicked with the worst fear possible when I heard this tragic story.  Thoughts create feelings and feelings drive actions.  I felt panic and froze.  In other words, I froze in my steps and wasn’t doing anything to help my teens at all.  With self-coaching, I was able to get curious and create thought awareness.  Current thoughts create current reality and current result.  If I wanted to get unstuck from freeze mode, I needed to create awareness of my thoughts that were creating the feeling of panic.

Once I created powerful awareness of my current thoughts and feelings and actions, then I can do some self-discovery to figure out why I keep choosing to stay stuck and then create some powerful thought shift to a thought that creates a feeling of intentional.  

Positive Actions to Take Against Sextortion and Cyberbullying

Here’s what I found out. 

The most powerful current thought coming up for me that was creating a feeling of panic and sending me into a stress response freeze mode was:

“I haven’t done enough to protect my kids.”

This thought created panic, the action of freezing and the result: “I’m not doing anything.”

Then,  I created a thought shift to something that is believable to me and will create a feeling of intentional, which is how I decided I want to feel.

Here’s my new thought:

 “I trust myself to show up even when it’s a hard issue, topic or conversation.” 

Feeling: Intentional

Action: Self-coaching, check out documentary and resources and write opening to conversation script with my teen

Result: I’m showing up to help my teens through difficult times.

See how that self-coaching works? It’s important work and our teens are worth it. Make sure you check out imecommunity.com and Join for Dr. Karla coaching.

Self-love superpower, 

Dr. Karla, ActivistMD


Stop Bullying Your Selfie

Stop Bullying Your Selfie

“But first lemme take a selfie”

A selfie is worth a thousand words, or at least a thousand Instagram comments.

There’s More to Selfies Than Pose and Click

I’m horrible at taking selfies.  Like, really bad.  I never know where to look, so I always look like I’m staring off to the side.  My kids make relentless fun of my selfie ineptitude.  In fact, one time, my oldest daughter, Katherine, got on my phone and got all my selfies together and posted them on Instagram with the caption, “My Mom’s a Savage.”

I actually took this as a compliment!

The other day I was life coaching a teen in IME Community on pictures, social media and all the things.

I always learn so much from life coaching.  It’s my all-time favorite.   

I don’t really find that teens are obsessed with taking selfies and posting them on social media. 

Teens are much more nuanced than us parents when it comes to social media platforms. 

Self-Judging About Selfies

Teens are obsessed with self-judging before posting said selfies. It makes total sense, especially if you read my recent blog on Cyberbullying and Teens. 

It’s a part of perfectionism, which is a harmful thought habit that keeps us from showing up as our true authentic selves ready to live our fun magical lives! 

More on perfectionism reset and Make It Fun to Get It Done coming up in IME Community!

There’s so much pressure, not to post necessarily, but if you want to post, teens feel the pressure to get ahead of their post and make it “perfect” to avoid criticism.  

Stop Bullying Yourself – Perfect Doesn’t Exist

Let’s repeat that: Perfect. Doesn’t Exist.

  •     “I look bad in that pic.”  
  •     “Let’s take another one.” 
  •     “That’s a bad angle.”  
  •     “I hate what I’m wearing.” 
  •     “Why does everyone else look good, but I look horrible?”

You’re judging yourself before it even goes out into the world.

“It’s permanent once I post it.” 

That’s a thought. Thoughts create feelings. “It’s permanent” creates fear which will drive the action to get stuck in self-judging perfectionism. 

Not challenging thoughts means you stay stuck in current patterns, results and reality.

Sure, that selfie becomes part of the manufactured digital universe, but it never has to permanently affect you in your mind. 

Going to Post a Selfie? Try Thinking About It This Way

Try these thoughts instead:

  •     This is a random selfie and I’m having fun.
  •     I’m willing to let people judge me. 
  •     I like my reasons for posting this selfie. 
  •     I have my own back.  

Once you post from a place of self-love, you create self-trust which is a huge self-confidence build.  You start taking more action which perpetuates more action and so on and so on. 

If your teen is indulging in selfie overwhelm, offer up one of the Dr. Karla thought challenges as a new perspective and then let it go. 

Trust your teen to create selfie self-trust and figure it out on their own. 

Make sure you join IME Community if you’re a teen, 12 to 18 or parent of a teen who is ready to cancel diet culture and co-create a body positive community in a body negative world!

Self-love superpower, 

Dr. Karla, ActivistMD