Activist says Snapchat sextortion case shows parents need to wake up

Jul 3, 2019, 8:56 AM | Updated: 9:40 am

snapchat parents sextortion...

FILE: Image of Snapchat icon (AP Photo/Richard Drew)

(AP Photo/Richard Drew)

SALT LAKE COUNTY — Experts call the case of a 19-year-old man accused of sextortion via Snapchat a wakeup call to all Utah parents.

Gabe Gilbert, 19, of South Jordan, faces felony charges in a case that investigators say may have more than 50 victims.

Rewiring the brain

Collin Kartchner, a social media expert with the Save the Kids Foundation, says young brains are being re-wired – and not in a good way.

“Parents need to understand that when you give your kids a smartphone with access to the Internet, you are giving them a Playboy Magazine and saying, ‘Don’t look at this,'” Kartchner said. “It doesn’t matter how much they go to church or whatever. It is wiring their brains to have a false notion of how relationships work.”

Is Snapchat to blame?

Charging documents say Gilbert is accused of threatening teen girls unless they sent him explicit photos on the social media app Snapchat. Kartchner says the entire situation makes him sad for everyone involved: the victims as well as Gilbert.

“This is happening right now. It’s happening in our community. And it’s always happening through the same app. It’s happening through Snapchat,” Kartchner said.

Snapchat, he asserts, was created for sexting, and there’s no good reason for teens to be on the platform.

Snapchat launched in 2011 as a messaging platform. While users can share photos and videos publicly through a feature called “Stories,” privately messaged videos disappear by default after a single viewing. Photos sent as private message snaps can be seen for a user-specified length of time before disappearing.

Advice for parents

Kartchner says the story illustrates how important it is for parents to monitor their children online — if they even allow their children to have access in the first place. If teens make a mistake, he adds, it’s critical to make sure parents lead with love rather than shame.

“If we are going to give our kids access to this stuff, it’s like giving them a snake. And they get bit, and [if] we get upset with them for getting bit by the snake that we handed them, there’s something wrong with us,” he said.

Leading with love, he advises, begins with emboldening parents to have frank and open conversations and restricting their children’s access to what’s online.


We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Send it to the KSL NewsRadio team here.


Gift your children a Spotify playlist that tells the story of your life....

Amanda Dickson

Dickson: Give your children the playlist of your life

My son, Ethan, asked me to create a Spotify playlist of "my music" for him. Here's my journey through time and how I made a gift for my kids.

2 days ago

students eat school lunch -- Students at 12 Salt Lake City schools will all be getting free school ...

Aimee Cobabe

12 Salt Lake City schools getting free breakfast and lunch this school year

The 12 schools all qualify for the Community Eligibility Provision, which looks at the number of families applying for other government assistance programs.

11 days ago

(Screenshot from Google Maps)...

Mariah Maynes & Adam Small

Owners of The Rush Funplex fined for violating child labor laws

Syracuse Family Fun Center LLC, the operators of The Rush Funplex has been assessed with $167k in penalties due to violations of child labor laws.

25 days ago

A baby with their mouth open....

Lindsay Aerts

Utah birth rate decline is partially due to cost, expert says

Fewer people are having children due to the demands of modern life and the financial burden they can create. One organization is working to find a solution.

25 days ago


Michelle Lee

Building stronger family relationships

Let’s Get Moving Host Maria Shilaos spoke with Cheryl Cardall to get tips on building stronger family relationships.

26 days ago

ryan glad...

Don Brinkerhoff

Community raises $76K for West Jordan family after fatal hiking accident

Ryan Glad, 43, was hiking Topaz Mountain with his son and in-laws when the trail beneath him gave way.

1 month ago

Sponsored Articles

silhouette of a family looking over a lake with a bird in the top corner flying...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

8 Fun Activities To Do in Bear Lake Without Getting in the Water

Bear Lake offers plenty of activities for the whole family to enjoy without having to get in the water. Catch 8 of our favorite activities.

Wellsville Mountains in the spring with a pond in the foreground...

Wasatch Property Management

Advantages of Renting Over Owning a Home

Renting allows you to enjoy luxury amenities and low maintenance without the long-term commitment and responsibilities of owning a home.

Clouds over a red rock vista in Hurricane, Utah...

Wasatch Property Management

Why Southern Utah is a Retirement Paradise

Retirement in southern Utah offers plenty of cultural and recreational opportunities. Find out all that this region has to offer.

Human hand holding a protest banner stop vaping message over a crowded street background....

Prosperous Utah Communities

Utah’s Battle to Protect Youth from Vaping Epidemic Faces New Threat as Proposed Rule Threatens Progress

Utah's strict standards of nicotine levels in vaping products are at risk, increasing health hazards associated with use. Read more about how you can advocate for a better future for Utah's youth.

Aerial photo of Bear Lake shoreline with canopies and people camped out on the beach...

Visit Bear Lake

Last-Minute Summer Vacation Planning? Check Out Bear Lake!

Bear Lake is the perfect getaway if you are last-minute summer vacation planning. Enjoy activities with your whole family at this iconic lake.

close up of rose marvel saliva blooms in purple...

Shannon Cavalero

Drought Tolerant Perennials for Utah

The best drought tolerant plants for Utah can handle high elevations, alkaline soils, excessive exposure to wind, and use of secondary water.

Activist says Snapchat sextortion case shows parents need to wake up