Online predators solicit videos and photos from Wichita teen

WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) Sarah Poschen received her first iPhone when she was 13-years-old. Like all her friends with cell phones, she downloaded chat apps to message friends and meet new people.

Not long after, she met a person she thinks was a 16-year-old girl.

"I considered that person one of my friends at the time," says Poschen.

The two messaged each other back and forth for several months before the person asked Poschen to Skype with her. Sarah agreed.

"First, the conversation was really casual, just asking questions about myself and I asked the person questions," explains Poschen. But then the other person suggested the two play a game of truth or dare. Poschen agreed, but she says she felt uncomfortable.

"At one point, I was dared to take off my shirt for just a second," says Poschen. "I was very hesitant because that's not really something I was comfortable with."

Poschen says the other person manipulated her into believing it would be okay; reluctantly, she agreed.

The moment that Poschen followed through with the dare, the other person ended the conversation.

"Right away, I got a picture and a video of me taking off my shirt and then I got a list of things I was told to do if I didn't want that picture getting out," says Poschen.

Poschen also says the other person threatened to come to Wichita and hurt her if she didn't meet the demands. Scared, Poschen followed through, but the demands kept coming.

"They look for weaknesses, then they send friend requests, then they become friends with the child," says Sgt. Jeff Swanson with the Wichita Police Department. Swanson is a supervisor for the internet crimes against children task force.

He says online harassment takes place all over the world.

"When I was growing up, we had to worry about our neighbors, people in our town," says Swanson. "That doesn't apply anymore because of social media."

He says kids' social status often relies on their social media presence. He also says teens are quick to make friends online, even when they've never met their "friend" in person.

"It's scary and it shouldn't happen and we shouldn't have to tell girls to be worried about that," says Poschen.

She says the demands continued for several months. She says, at one point, the original predator sold her information to somebody else. That person also made demands.

"To make videos, go meet people, that kind of thing," explains Poschen.

Finally, she decided she had enough.

"At that point, I was just done," says Poschen. "I told them it was either I was going to kill myself or I was going to call police because I just couldn't do it anymore."

Three years later, Sarah decided to tell her mom about what happened. Now, she wants to warn other young girls so they don't experience the same thing.

The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children has a web safety site to help educate parents and their kids about using caution online. Swanson says the site has multiple resources to help children not become victims of online harassment.

If your child has experienced online harassment from predators, contact local law enforcement immediately. Swanson also suggests saving all texts, videos, photos, and contacts to use as evidence.