As technology becomes an increasingly important tool for children and young people to communicate, socialize, and learn, the emergence of a disturbing new trend is troubling parents globally.

“Cyberflashing” is the act of sending unsolicited explicit images or videos to someone through a digital device, or a social media platform. The term “flashing” refers to the act of exposing oneself in public, and cyberflashing is a similar form of sexual harassment that takes place online.

Cyberflashing can occur on any platform where users can exchange messages or media, like social media platforms, dating apps, or even the airdrop feature on Apple devices. Recipients of these messages often report feeling violated, intimidated, or threatened, and the situation may have a drastic effect on their mental health.

This is a serious issue that can have lasting effects on victims. It can be particularly harmful to children and young people, who may not know how to process or respond to this type of harassment or have the emotional resilience to cope with it. It’s important for parents, guardians, and educators to be aware of cyberflashing and take steps to protect children from this form of online abuse.

While cyberflashing can and does happen to people of all ages, children and young people are particularly vulnerable to this form of online sexual harassment. It can be a distressing and traumatic experience for children, but there are steps they can take to reduce the likelihood of being targeted.

It is a key online rule not to share personal information. Children should never share personal information, such as their full name, address, or phone number, on any online platform. This information can be used by cybercriminals to track them down and harass them. By setting strict privacy settings on their devices and all their social media platforms, children can help prevent strangers or unknown individuals from sending unsolicited messages or images.

Children should be encouraged to report any explicit or unsolicited messages or images they receive to the platform’s moderation team. They should also block the sender to prevent any further communication. They should be taught to never accept friend requests or follow requests from strangers or people they don’t know well. They should only connect with people they know and trust in real life.

Finally, children should trust their natural instincts. If they receive a message or image that makes them feel uncomfortable or unsafe, they should tell a trusted adult and report the incident to the platform in question.

By following this advice, children and their caretakers can reduce the risk of being targeted by cyberflashers and stay safe online.