But the photo can be off the web and anybody can impersonate anybody with the right stuff. These are some great conversation starters that can start a good discussion without putting too much pressure to reveal their online activities on whoever the parent/guardian is talking to.
Anything you share with them keeps the conversation going; it doesn't help end it.
Sometimes they'll say they already have something embarrassing to blackmail someone into sending pictures (sometimes called "sextortion"), but sending more never stops the harassment; it only increases it.
And while it's nice to be polite if someone knows you in real life, you don't have to be nice if they aren't respecting your limits.
It's better to block than to be nice and better to be safe than to be sweet.
It could also be that your teen is intrigued by the sudden attention.
Though it could be totally safe, encouraging too much online contact without knowing who's really on the other end can lead to a lot of shared personal information and false intimacy, which can make a teen let down their guard.
: Sometimes, the most important and trustworthy defense is our instinct, so if something doesn't feel right, trust yourself, even if that means ending online contact with someone you like.
Anyone asking for pictures (especially posed or sexy ones) is a huge red flag, and it's best to go offline to avoid the pressure so you can stop and think.
Also, tweens and teens who are in emotional distress are especially vulnerable because they crave positive attention and connection, so if you notice your kid withdrawing, being secretive, and hiding online interactions, it's time to ask some questions.
While it's fairly rare for predators to solicit contact offline, it does happen, so it's important to be aware of your kid's connections and activities.
Tweens and teens are at a sensitive age when they want to be more independent from their parents but also crave positive attention. Make sure your kid has positive connections outside the family and people to talk to -- and get support from -- during these years when they sometimes push you away.