Specialist security services urge parents to monitor children’s activity on social media

Specialist Investigator, Mike Bolhuis. Picture: File

Specialist Investigator, Mike Bolhuis. Picture: File

Published Mar 28, 2024


In the wake of a 15-year-old girl falling victim to extortion and blackmailing, private security services have called on parents to have conversations with their children on the dos and don’ts of navigating social media.

Specialist Security Services reported recently that they were contacted by the concerned parents of a 15-year-old girl who had fallen victim to photograph manipulation by a group of boys in her age group.

Specialist Investigator Mike Bolhuis said according to information at their disposal, the situation started after a young boy downloaded a photo of the girl from her Facebook profile onto his phone.

Bolhuis alleged the boy then proceeded to make use of a third-party application to edit the downloaded photo to the point where she was naked.

Once the photo was created, it was sent to one of the boy’s friends via WhatsApp, however, a third boy who had access to the boy’s phone forwarded himself the photo, resulting in the photo being distributed to several other parties and another school.

The girl became aware of the photo upon browsing on social media, after an unknown person sent her a friend request disguised as another school girl claiming they had her photo.

Bolhuis said the person texted the girl: “I want more photos, or I will share this photo with everyone on your social media.”

Despite her effort to establish who this was, she was only met with threats and blackmailing from the persons.

The specialist investigator said by the time the girl and her parents were made aware of what was going on, the situation had escalated from photo manipulation to extortion, where the girl was being asked to send explicit photos by the unknown party.

Bolhuis said the parents assisted her with blocking the profile, however, the girl was shocked to find out how far the photo had already been distributed.

Specialist investigators were contacted and subsequently identified the two boys who created and leaked the initial photograph.

“To date, the party responsible for blackmailing the girl has not been identified, but investigations are ongoing. The young girl is currently receiving assistance to help her process what had happened and overcome the embarrassment of the entire ordeal.

“The boys were confronted with the reality of what they had done and the necessary steps are being taken with them,” Bolhuis said.

In light of this, Bolhuis said it was important to once again warn parents to remain vigilant with their children’s time on social media by ensuring that they warned them about unsolicited conversations, and avoid entering adult websites.

He also urged them to also avoid posting pictures of themselves on social media, or photos that could possibly reveal personal information.

The Star

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