What should I do if someone is threatening to share things I want to keep private (ex: photos or videos)?
We worked with ConnectSafely.org on the following answer. To learn more, please visit www.connectsafely.org/safety-tips/tips-to-prevent-sexting.
If someone is threatening to share things you intended to be private and asking you to send them money or anything else, you have options:
- Contact local law enforcement and report this to them.
- Block this person. Depending on your privacy settings, people on Instagram can see a list of your followers and who you follow. Once you block someone, they no longer have access to your profile.
The safest thing you can do is never share something you wouldn’t want other people seeing, even if you feel like you trust the person asking you to share.
If you're under 18
If you're under 18, we recommend talking with a parent or other adult you trust to help you think through what to do. We offer some tips for parents on safety and security on Instagram. Here are other resources for you to consider:
- Contact a crisis hotline or chat service. These can be found all over the US and in many other countries. This is a good option if you want to remain anonymous while deciding what to do. Crisis lines can also often refer you to a victim advocate or other legal adviser near you. In the US, you can search for one by zip code at http://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/CrisisCenters/Locator.aspx or visit www.crisischat.org/.
- Talk with a victim advocate or social worker in your town or city. In the US, there are victim advocates in county offices, police stations, domestic violence prevention centers, rape crisis centers, sheriff's offices and offices of state attorneys general. Victim advocates can help you gather evidence, figure out how to keep you safe and get a civil protection or anti-stalking order against the person threatening you. If you're in the US, call the National Organization for Victim Assistance at 1-800-TRY-NOVA/800-879-6682 or go to www.trynova.org/.
- Contact a legal aid society or organization near you for free advice.
- Ask a lawyer or other counselor for advice.
- Talk to a school counselor or administrator.
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- What can I do if someone is blackmailing me on Instagram?
- I'm having thoughts about suicide or self-injury.
- What should I do if I see images that sexually exploit children (ex: pornography) on Instagram?