Dec 01, 2016 06:30 AM EST

UK Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt Calls For Tighter Control To Prevent 'Sextortion' Against Children, Cyber Bullying After Increasing Numbers of Blackmail Cases

By JC Santos

Britain Conservative MP and Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt called for social media companies prominent in Western internet to introduce new means to prevent children and young adults from "sextortion" or sending sexually-explicit images of themselves. The health secretary mentioned technologies in existence that could help prevent the transmission of such images and cut cyber bullying levels by both communities and organized crime gangs.

UK Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt said social media companies -- presumably widely used Facebook and Twitter -- should do more "to combat a culture of online intimidation and sexual imagery" that Hunt claims is introducing great stress and anxiety to young Britons. He challenged social media companies to show "how they can be the solution to the issue of mental ill health amongst teenagers".

According to The Independent, international gangs of organized criminals target young men -- and in some occasions -- in Britain through "traps". The news website cites a report by the National Crime agency that the number of cyber blackmails doubled from 385 in 2015 to 864 in 2016 as of November.

Young adult males are prone to "sextortion" as they use social media websites including Facebook, Twitter and even dating websites trying to find love in the Internet. Criminals "catfish" these young adult men as they pose as beautiful women interested in them. This persona allows them to "control" the actions of the young man, having them strip naked while the criminals record the activity -- media used as blackmail material.

According to The Telegraph, the UK Health Secretary said the technology industry can "do smart things" such as having people under the age of 18 have a "lock" parents can emplace on a mobile phone contract. He also asked social media companies " why we can't identify cyber bullying when it happens on social media platforms by word pattern recognition, and then prevent it happening."

Avoiding possible blackmailers is similar to avoiding online email and phishing website scams. As always, anything that seems "too good to be true" -- even people who look too beautiful and are interested in you -- is probably too good indeed. Take the time to observe details and never trust anyone too easily over the Internet.

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