Teen Amanda Todd’s social media tormentor’s lengthy sentence is great news. Still, Winnipeg-based Canadian Centre for Child Protection this summer publicized their increased concern that “adolescent boys are being targeted primarily on social media giants Instagram and Snapchat as part of an ongoing sextortion crisis … The offender will then threaten to report the victim to police, claiming they are in possession of child sexual abuse material.”
Manitoba teen Daniel Lints, an otherwise normal and happy 17-year-old, took his own life this year after being “sextorted.” An apparently attractive young woman on Snapchat compelled him to send her a compromising image of himself then soon afterward threatened to post it if he didn’t pay up.
Even in this day and age, male victims of sexual harassment, abuse and/or assault are still more hesitant or unlikely than girl victims to report their offenders. They refuse to open up and/or ask for help for fear of being perceived by peers and others as weak or non-masculine.
Maybe these boys believe they’re somehow externally perceived as basically being little men, and men of course can take care of themselves.
I recently read a New York Times feature story (“She Was a Big Hit on TikTok. Then a Fan Showed Up With a Gun,” Feb. 19, 2022) written by reporter Elizabeth Williamson who at one point states: “Teen girls have been repeatedly targeted by child predators” on social media.”
Why write this when the fact is teen boys are also targeted by such predators? Does a collective yet mostly subtle societal mindset still persist, that real men can take care of themselves and boys are basically little men?
And if mainstream news media fail to fully realize this in their journalism, why would the rest of society?
Frank Sterle Jr.
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