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Online Enticement

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The Issue

Online Enticement involves an individual communicating with someone believed to be a child via the internet with the intent to commit a sexual offense or abduction. This is a broad category of online exploitation and includes sextortion, in which a child is being groomed to take sexually explicit images and/or ultimately meet face-to-face with someone for sexual purposes, or to engage in a sexual conversation online or, in some instances, to sell/trade the child’s sexual images. This type of victimization takes place across every platform; social media, messaging apps, gaming platforms, etc. 

The most common tactics used to entice children seem to be engaging in sexual conversation/role playing, and asking the child for sexually explicit images of themselves or mutually sharing images. While certain online behaviors may increase the risk for victimization, including lying about being older in order to access certain platforms and sending explicit photos or videos (known as “sexts”) of oneself to another user.

The goals of online enticement vary, but most commonly offenders seem to want to extort additional sexually explicit images from the child.

For more information on online enticement visit NCMEC’s Online Enticement page or download the Online Enticement Report.

By the Numbers

97.5% Increase

in reports of online enticement received by NCMEC in 2020 versus 2019, from 19,100+ reports to 37,800+ reports.

In a NCMEC analysis, 78%

of reported victims were girls,

13% were boys, and for 

9% of reports gender was unknown


of reported offenders were seemingly unknown to the child offline.

How to Talk About It

Children and teens may not take the first steps in disclosing to you an uncomfortable online interaction. If during this discussion you hear something that is startling to you, try to react calmly and continue listening. Remember, it is not the child who is at fault. Together you can report the incident to the CyberTipline. 


  • Has anyone ever tried talking to you online about inappropriate or sexual things? What did you do?
  • Do you trust all of your online friends? Are there any people you should unfriend or block?
  • Do you know how to report, flag, or block people on the websites and apps you use? Can you show me?
  • Who would you talk to if you were upset by a request you received online?


  • You have the right to say “NO” to anyone who talks about or asks you to do something that makes you uncomfortable, even if it’s someone you know.
  • Someone who pressures you to talk about or do something sexual online is not someone you should trust.
  • Block, unfriend or report anyone sending an unwanted sexual request.
  • Talk to a friend or an adult you trust if you get upset about a sexual request. Sometimes just talking about it can help.
  • Be very careful about meeting offline. You should get your parents’ or guardians’ permission first, take them or another trusted adult with you and meet and stay in a public place.


'The Healthy Relationships' video can help youth identify exploitive or unhealthy behaviors in relationships that are often a part of various kinds of victimizations, such as online enticement, sextortion, and child sex trafficking.

Healthy Relationships

'I am a Survivor of Sextortion' illustrates some of the strong emotions minors experiencing sextortion go through that prevent them from reaching out for help.

I am a Survivor of Sextortion

'It's called Sextortion' demonstrates how sextortion may occur, identifies some red flags, and emphasizes the importance of peers and friends being upstanders for others.

It's Called Sextortion

Ryan and Noah share their stories to show that online victimization can happen to boys too.

Julie talks about when she left home for three weeks with a convicted murderer she had developed a relationship with online.

Hear the true story of a 15-year-old girl who left home to meet in person with a man she first "met" online.

Keyan’s new online friend wants to meet face-to-face, but is this is a good idea? Tad and Slick don’t think so!

So You Need Some Help...Tip sheet

Sextortion: What Parents Should Know Tip sheet

Season 2 of "Into the Cloud" tackles gaming and livestream safety, online enticement and blackmail, cyberbullying, and removing/reporting inappropriate content online. Ideal for kids 10 & under.


Into the Cloud, Season 2 Episode Guides

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Are you a parent or guardian looking for on-demand trainings related to prevention education? Check out NCMEC’s virtual child safety series, Parent Connect, available for free on NCMEC CONNECT. Topics include cyberbullying, online enticement, livestreaming, gaming, sexting, and more! 

Thorn's No FILTR program logo

The No FILTR campaign seeks to increase awareness about self-generated content, change toxic attitudes around sexting, and equip youth with the knowledge and tools they need to resist online threats. No FILTR incorporates youth voices every step of the way to ensure content is appropriate and effective.