The link below will give you the details, but let’s start here:
“In 2020, the IWF identified a staggering 68,000 cases of “self-generated imagery” being shared online globally, referring to photos, videos and other visual media produced by the victims, as a result of coercion by a predator — up 77% over the previous year’s total.”
As we know, 2020 was a year that many kids spent an enormous amount of time online, and not in their normal social environments. As the article points out, most of this increase was with girls aged 11-13.
Now, I am not going to claim that I know much about being a pre-teen girl, because I don’t. I do know though, that age range is one that is especially trying for everyone, but maybe even more so for girls. That group, I would imagine, is dealing with puberty for the first time, dealing with that transition between being a “kid”, not that much different than the boys they interact with, to being a young women, very much different than the boys. Typically we see that play out in social situations, figuring out their place with their peers, and in relation to the opposite sex in small ways, on a daily basis. This year, a lot of that probably wasn’t happening. But they were online a lot. And they were figuring out their place in an online world, where the rules, and the people, are much more dangerous.
Imagine, if you will, the awkward social learning that goes on at a middle-school dance, for example. Now imagine a handful of 40 year old men were in the middle of that awkwardness, disguised as teens? You’d have some serious chats with your daughter before sending her off to the dance, wouldn’t you?
What do you think the internet is for 11-13 year-olds?
Have that talk, keep open lines of communication, understand the tools they are using, and how they are using them. If anything, please do not think they are too young to have to worry about this. Clearly, they do.