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18 Feb

Sue Scheff, author of the new book "Shame Nation: The Global Epidemic of Online Hate," told TODAY Parents she believes that to protect their kids from sextortion and other forms of exploitation, parents need to reconsider the age at which they allow kids to begin using social media.

"What I noted in my research was that victims are getting younger and younger as parents are ignoring age restrictions and recommendations set by sites, and kids are finding ways to get on platforms before the required age," Scheff said.

The Utah native met what he thought was a pretty girl online. In a final exchange, Curtis told his blackmailer, who was in the Philippines, as it turned out, that he'd been bled dry and had no more cash to give.

Talk about what is happening on the apps they use and set an expectation that you can have access to their device any time," Cordua said.

This includes explicitly telling children never to share nude or intimate photos of themselves or others with anyone, even peers they know and trust.

Once your child is online or has a hand-held device, there are six things experts say you need to do to help protect them: "It's one thing for a child to have access to a device like a computer in the family room, another for them to actually hold a device in their hands," said Cordua.

Children online behind closed doors might be more vulnerable than those who play on computers in high-traffic areas of the house where more eyes will be able to see their screens, she said.