“Cappers” is a network of people who devote their time to capturing images of young girls and boys.
They monitor live internet web rooms, and once they identify someone they think is vulnerable, they gather information about where the teen lives, who they hang around with, and where they go to school.
Then as a group, they pressure the teens to expose before the web cam.
They capture the image and share it amongst themselves like trading cards.
The photos are also used to blackmail the teens to do much more or risk the photo being sent to everyone they know.
Shortly after Amanda Todd committed suicide, hacker group Anonymous pointed to a person they say was her tormenter. The name they provided was well known in the capper community.
Jesse Miller with Mediated Reality said on Unfiltered with Jill Krop tonight capping is very prevalent.
“Any given moment during the day, there could be people online trying to get kids, adults of any gender and age to go on web cam and pose,” says Miller.
He says often victims do not necessarily understand the scope of the cappers’ actions.
“This could be within their peer group or it could be someone on the other end of the planet. These conversations start from – I liked your picture, to – would you go on web cam? The kids do not understand the underground nature of it.”
Each year, the capper community also holds ‘capper of the year’ awards for those who were successful.
“For this community they actually do kind of boost one another up by trying to demonstrate the most extreme case of extorting a child,” says Signy Arnason with Cybertip.ca, the tipline to report the online sexual exploitation of children. “And then in some instances they turn around and capture the teens reaction when they realize the individual is in possession of this and is going to send it out to a whole group of people and they capture the horror on the child’s face and all that feeds into what we see online, where they will give out awards to one another for doing the most damage to those kids. It is terribly disturbing.”