Friday 18 August 2017

Naked mole rats are being used to protect teens from 'sextortion'

A charity has suggested sending pictures of the African rodents should anyone ask for explicit images online.

By Kameron Virk

A Canadian campaign to protect teenagers from sextortion has put the much-maligned naked mole rat front and centre.

“Sextortion” is the process of blackmailing someone by threatening to send sexual images of them to other people, and has spiked dramatically in Canada over the past two years, according to the Canadian Centre for Child Protection.

Teenage boys are being blackmailed increasingly frequently, the charity said, and they’ve suggested that rather than sending an image of your penis, you send, well…

“Awareness is critical because you can’t avoid a threat you don’t know about,” the charity’s executive director Lianna McDonald said.

“Sextortion is based on deceiving youth and obtaining sexual images – we need to drive home the Don’t Get Sextorted message that teens don’t send one. We must break down the communication barriers around embarrassing topics for teenagers. Our campaign gives teens, parents and educators an easy ‘way-in’ to a tough conversation.”

A campaign site features plenty of memes and gifs that can be sent if someone asks for explicit images, such as…

ipanews_4246a8a7-c2a0-49b9-9e19-0ae41ae0b79f_embedded1478739706
ipanews_4246a8a7-c2a0-49b9-9e19-0ae41ae0b79f_embedded1300143997
ipanews_4246a8a7-c2a0-49b9-9e19-0ae41ae0b79f_embedded1924920285

The charity is even releasing a custom keyboard for iOS, complete with all their mole rat gifs.

McDonald explained that sextortion often begins on social media, where someone posing as a romantic interest will try and coax nude images from the victim before asking for money or additional material.

The NSPCC has its own app, Zipit, filled with “killer comebacks” to use if someone asks for nudes – as well as comprehensive advice for anyone who needs it.

As for the naked mole rats, it appears they’re finally getting their time in the sun.

Press Association

Editors Choice

Also in World News