7News Spotlight: April 28

Sarah Greenhalgh investigates the dark underbelly of social media sextortion impacting Australian teenagers.

On Sunday 7News Spotlight‘s Sarah Greenhalgh investigates the dark underbelly of social media sextortion impacting teenagers and hears from the family of Rohan Cosgriff, who took his own life at the age of just 17.

Sarah said: “The importance of this story can’t be overstated. Sextortion is one of the fastest growing crimes against children in our country, with families across Australia and the world left devastated by its impact.”

“All the parents we interviewed who have lost their sons had open, honest conversations with them about the dangers of social media, but it wasn’t enough,” Sarah said.

“We’re incredibly grateful to Beck and Anthony Cosgriff for bravely sharing Rohan’s story. We have no doubt they will help save lives.”

Rohan Cosgriff, 17, had everything to live for, but within hours of the Victorian teenager sharing an explicit photo on social media with a Nigerian scammer posing as a young, attractive girl, Rohan was blackmailed and pressured into taking his own life.

The Australian Federal Police estimate that as many as 3,000 cases of sextortion occur in our country every month, with teenage boys left ashamed and scared. What starts as a simple “hello” in a direct online message quickly escalates into a terrifying ordeal involving private photos and ruthless extortion. Like Rohan, some of these cases have tragic consequences.

Determined to expose the criminals behind sextortion, Sarah travels 15,000km to Lagos, Nigeria, coming face-to-face with a sextortionist who explains in chilling detail how and he and his colleagues target their victims.

In a heart-wrenching interview, Rohan’s parents share their son’s story publicly for the first time. Recounting the tragic circumstances that led to his death, the Cosgriffs hope to prevent other Australian families experiencing the same tragedy.

7NEWS Spotlight also focuses on Meta and other tech giants, demanding they step up and take responsibility to protect children from these heinous crimes. Sarah goes to the US searching for answers from Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg over Instagram’s involvement in these scams. And what she exposes is a chilling truth: no child is safe.

8:30pm Sunday on Seven

Lifeline 13 11 14
Beyond Blue 1300 22 46 36

2 Responses

  1. Wow what a powerful episode, truly heartbreaking and reprehensible, starting to remember why this show did so well the last year or two, overshadowed recently by all the bad press. Michael Usher always a pro and Sarah Greenhalgh (as seen in Ukraine a few years ago) has turned out to be a great investigative journo. That poor family and poor old Ballarat this year!

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