In the digital age we live in, it is extremely important to be aware of how to stay safe online. Internet safety is a growing concern, especially for those who may face additional risks due to their immigration status. Below, we share some key tips for navigating the web safely and protecting your privacy and security!


💡 Remember: If someone has threatened or done something inappropriate to you online, it is not your fault and you are not alone. It’s important that you tell your story to a trusted adult and report the online abuse immediately.


There has been a recent increase in the number of teens being targeted online for exploitation (online exploitation is when someone tries to use and control a person through the internet) and scams through social media channels (like Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram, etc.), gaming sites, and other online platforms. It’s important that you know how to recognize these threats and scams, how to protect yourself online, and how to report these incidents. This article will cover important topics such as:

  1. 🚫 What is sextortion
  2. 🌐 Tips to stay safe on the internet
  3. 💻 What to do if someone threatens or harasses you online
  4. 👥 How to talk to your sponsor or another trusted adult about online scams, threats, and harassment


1. 🚫 What is Sextortion?

Sextortion is when someone threatens to expose sexual images of a person to make them do something (such as send money, send more sexual pictures, etc.). These threats can come from strangers you met online or from someone you know and formed a romantic relationship with online. Click here to watch this video by Thorn to get informed about what to do. 

Recently, there have been many reports of adult predators pretending to be young girls on the internet and convincing teenage boys (usually between 14 and 17 years old) to send sexual images or videos. The predators then ask for money and threaten to post or share the sexual images of the teenagers if the money is not sent. Sextortion is illegal and should be reported immediately so the predator can be found and stopped. Reporting online abusers can help save many other children and teens from being targeted and abused in the future. 

For more information and resources on sextortion, check out the following:

🔍 Thorn's Get Help Now Page: Click here to learn more about sextortion and how to get help 

📱 Facebook: Click here to learn tips and advice for protecting yourself from sextortion and what to do if someone threatens or harasses you 

🌐 Love146’s Online Safety Page: Click here to find tips on how to stay safe online, recognize red flags, and handle uncomfortable situations. 

📚 Click here for guides on sextortion and online blackmail. 


2. 🌐 Tips to Stay Safe on the Internet

While the internet can be a great place to stay connected to family and friends, watch videos, share memes, and play games, it can also be a very dangerous place. People can pretend to be anyone online, however, please remember — videos and photos are not proof that a person is who they say they are.

To stay safe online and protect yourself from scams or sextortion, there are several steps you can take. By clicking here, you can watch the video below by for valuable tips on staying safe online.

🔒 Change your privacy settings on your social media accounts so your information is only seen by family and friends. Only accept friend requests from people you know.

🚫 Never share personal photos, videos, or information because this content can remain online permanently. Do not share information such as your full name, school, address, phone number, passwords, or anything about your family or friends. Do not post any photos in front of your home where someone might see your address or recognize where you live. Never share images or videos you would not want seen by your family, teachers, or a stranger.

🚨 Always think before you post or send. Sending sexual images of yourself or others can lead to embarrassment at home or school. It can also lead to a police investigation. Sharing sexual images of anyone under 18 years old – including yourself – is illegal.


💵 Never send money to someone online unless you are expecting the request. Government agencies, including the police, Social Security, USCIS, etc. will NOT ask for money by phone, text, or social media. 

👥 Never meet up with someone in person who you have only met online. people can pretend to be anything or anyone online – videos and photos are NOT proof that a person is who they say they are.


3. 💻 What to Do if Someone Threatens or Harasses You Online

 📸 Keep evidence of the abusive or threatening messages by immediately taking screenshots or printing out the messages, social media posts, or other forms of communication. This will be proof that you can show to a trusted adult or the police. Sometimes messages and texts can get deleted after a period of time or after you block someone. For more tips about how to save evidence, click here.

🚫 Block that person and report their profile and abusive messages on the online platform. Most social media platforms have a button that you can click to report people, posts or messages. You can see how to report on various platforms here. 

👩‍👦 Tell a trusted adult about what happened. A trusted adult is someone you feel comfortable talking to about anything and is someone who can help make you feel safe and less alone. Trusted adults can be different for everyone – they may be a family member, caseworker, lawyer, teacher, counselor, coach, tutor, etc. For more information about who a trusted adult is, watch this video by about finding an adult you can trust. You can also Text "THORN" to 741741 to confidentially speak with a trained counselor. 

💬 Report the threat or abuse to the police. Reporting the person who does this can help police catch them and stop them from harming others. If you are worried about contacting the police, you can contact your caseworker or a post release service (PRS) worker who can support you with the call and help you report the threat or abuse to the police. You can also report abuse to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) by calling 1-800-843-5678 or click here.


4. 👥 How to Talk to Your Sponsor or Another Trusted Adult about Online Scams, Threats, and Harassment

Talking about sextortion and other forms of online abuse can be scary, overwhelming, and uncomfortable. However, it is extremely important to share your story with a trusted adult so they can understand your situation and help you. Even if you have not been targeted and exploited online, having these conversations can help prevent something like this from happening.  


🌐 Thorn for Parents 

🎮 How to play video and online games safely  

🔒 Be Safer Online: tips to help kids safely use the internet  

🆔 You can create a Child ID kitwhich would include your recent picture, physical description and medical informationto share with law enforcement in case you go missing 

💬 For tips on how to talk about sextortion and online safety, click here. 



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NetSmartz. National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. Retrieved from 

FBI. Sextortion. Common Scams and Crimes. Retrieved from 

AMAZE. Sextortion: Online coercion and blackmail. Retrieved from 

NetSmartz. (2012-2019). Think Before You Send [PDF]. National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. Retrieved from

FBI. (December 19, 2022). FBI and Partners Issue National Public Safety Alert on Financial Sextortion Schemes. Press Releases. Retrieved from