Online grooming
facts & advice

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Online grooming – minimising risks

As children continue to find new ways to connect with each other on a range of devices and platforms, it is increasingly important to help them make smarter and safer choices about who they talk to and what they share online, especially with an increase of groomers online.

To help you give them the tools to be more critical about how they interact with others online, we’ve created a hub of expert advice to support you on this issue.

Online child grooming

What parents need to know

Online grooming – what parents need to know
Display video transcript
0:00
grooming is when someone seeks to build
0:03
an emotional connection with a child to
0:05
gain their trust for sexual purposes it
0:07
happens both online and face-to-face as
0:11
children may often meet people online
0:14
through social media or gaming who may
0:17
not be who they say they are it's
0:18
important to discuss the risks with them
0:24
groomers use fake profiles on social
0:26
networks to connect with children and
0:28
pretend to have similar interests use
0:31
gifts and compliments to build a
0:33
relationship with them once groomers
0:37
have gained a child's trust the
0:39
conversation steers towards their sexual
0:42
experiences and they may encourage or
0:44
blackmail children to send sexual images
0:47
or videos of themselves perform sexual
0:50
acts through live streaming or arrange
0:52
to meet groomers are not always
0:55
strangers and may be someone they have
0:58
already met socially at times children
1:01
may not be aware that they are being
1:03
groomed as they believe they're in a
1:04
relationship with the person grooming
1:09
can be tricky subject to talk about with
1:11
your children but it is important that
1:13
you start a conversation let them know
1:17
where to get help if they are concerned
1:18
and speak to you or a trusted adult for
1:21
support
1:25
find out what sites they go on where
1:28
they meet their online friends how they
1:30
communicate and what information they
1:32
share make sure they know that having
1:34
thousands of online friends isn't always
1:37
safe explain how easy it is to pretend
1:41
to be someone else online and why an
1:44
adult may wish to approach them to
1:49
prevent grooming from happening ensure
1:52
your child is well-informed uses privacy
1:55
settings on social networks and knows
1:57
that they can talk to you if they feel
1:58
unsafe or worried private details which
2:03
could identify them in the real world
2:05
name age gender phone number home
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address school name and photographs
2:10
should only ever be shared with people
2:12
they know tell your child to be cautious
2:17
with what they share online remind them
2:19
that people they have met online might
2:21
feel like friends but they may not be
2:23
who they say they are tell them they
2:27
must never arrange to meet someone they
2:28
only knew online without a parent
2:30
present tell them that if something
2:35
makes them worried or uncomfortable
2:37
online they must tell an adult they
2:39
trust

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REPORT ONLINE SEXUAL ABUSE

The meaning of grooming

Grooming usually refers to child sexual abuse. However, groomers also target children for purposes such as radicalisation, drug trafficking (county lines) and financial gain.

How perpetrators groom children

Groomers first befriend a child. Online, this could be someone they have never met. A groomer might pretend they’re the same age as your child; because there is a screen between them, your child can’t know who the other person is for sure.

Alternatively, a groomer may tell the truth about who they are, which some young people may see as a benefit. For example, a child without an older role model might feel a connection to an older person who treats them well.

Once a groomer gains a child’s trust, they can manipulate them to do what they want. Children and young people may have trouble saying no to someone who has built a relationship with them, making it easy for online grooming to happen.

Signs of sexual abuse and online grooming

If someone targets your child online for sexual purposes, the victim may not recognise it as abuse. The groomer might have made them feel special or could be an older child. Unfortunately, a child abused in this way may not seek help right away, so it’s important to look out for the signs of sexual abuse to take action.

Signs could include:

  • changes in behaviour
  • knowledge of adult issuesinappropriate for their age
  • starting to bed wet
  • avoidance of social situations
  • alcohol or drug abuse
  • unexplained school absences

It is important to look out for other changes that might be signs of other types of online grooming as well. These might include:

  • strange followers, friends or interactions online
  • multiple accounts on apps and platforms
  • unexplained devices in their possession
Child-on-child abuse light-bulb

Learn how child-on-child abuse might affect your child.

Prevent online child-on-child abuse

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