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What is an Online Groomer? Signs of Grooming That Parents Need to Know About

What is Online Groomer
Online Safety

What is an Online Groomer? Signs of Grooming That Parents Need to Know About

With the world advancing in digitization, children have been equally vulnerable due to the internet and other social media. Online grooming establishes a connection, especially with children and young people, to sexually exploit them and maintain control over them through the help of the internet. Disabled children and early teens are often the targets of online grooming. Online grooming can even lead to horrible crimes like child sex and sex trafficking. An online groomer can share online text messages, sexual images, and other explicit content with children and hit them with child sexual abuse. It can happen quickly or take some time to groom children.

Online grooming involves the person trying to establish relationships to abuse them later and keep them silent. The predator starts grooming by lying about their age and pretending to be about someone they are not. Later, they give them compliments and gifts, treat them friendly, and build trust. One who knows the children well they are targeting can easily groom them.

what is online groomer

Who can be an online groomer?

Anyone who wants to build a relationship to exploit them later sexually can be a groomer. The groomer can be a man, woman, stranger, or even your relatives or friends. Also, the groomer can be a person of any age or race.

Where can online grooming take place?

Due to the digital environment, grooming has increased the predator’s opportunity to groom children online. Online grooming mainly takes place on social media and in games. Predators often try to fulfill children’s needs such as gifts, clothes, games, gadgets, etc. They try to become as close as possible, only to destroy children at last. 

What are the stages of online grooming?

Predators often initialize a bond with a child only to lure children into making them sexually and socially vulnerable. These are the stages predators often use while grooming,

  1. Targeting the child
  2. Builds and gains the trust of the child
  3. Fulfilling a need
  4. Isolating the child
  5. Sexually abusing and exploiting child
  6. Maintaining control

Most Obvious Signs of Grooming parents need to know.

A parent should be able to know Children’s behaviors and activities. Digitation becoming their main activity has made children their only world. Most children explore and share their experiences online, making it easy for predators to access them. Children now use most of their time on social media and games, negatively impacting them. Here are some signs parents must know about online grooming,

1. Children are becoming more secretive about activities they do 

When children are being exploited, they often keep their activities secretive, don’t tend to share many things with others, and are highly concerned about their privacy, whether online or in social life.

2. Do Not interact and socialize 

Children often isolate themselves from others and don’t interact with friends or family members like they used to. They stay away from gatherings, birthday parties, and so on.

3. Having gifts, gadgets, and an enormous amount of money

Predators often gain the trust of children by giving them gifts, huge amounts of money, and sometimes gadgets too. Having unusual gifts can be a warning siren for parents. Parents should remove the doubt and clarify those gifts.

4. Likes to stay away from home more often

After being groomed, children often spend lots of time away from home. They usually go to school earlier and return home late. Also, they want to stay away from family on holidays and mainly spend time with that predator or friends out of the child’s circle.

5. Always upset, distressed, and exhausted

Children are often seen tired and upset after online predators exploit them. They are always inactive, out of energy, and mainly distressed.

6. Being dishonest 

Children lie about activities and what they did the whole day, fearing being caught grooming by their parents. 

7. Unusual mood change

Children’s moods suddenly change in almost no time. They become angry due to small things, unsure about what to do, and often stay alone.

8. Having a boyfriend or girlfriend way older than them

Having a boyfriend or a girlfriend older than the child can be another sign of grooming. It can negatively impact if they spend time alone with older strangers and are always engaged in talking with them.

How to prevent online grooming?

How to prevent online grooming?

It is necessary to educate and raise awareness among your children about grooming and other possible threats that can harm your children. Due to harmful consequences, preventing grooming is important for you as a parent or guardian. You can follow the given ideas to prevent your children from online groomer and bring darkness to lights,

  • Try to figure out whom children are talking to on social media or other platforms.
  • Keep a close look at children’s behavior and activities.
  • Aware of your children about how vulnerable they can be by meeting online strangers
  • Predators often greet children with gifts, gadgets, or money. Watch out for any of these things that your children may have received.
  • Know more about their friend circle 
  • Blocking vulnerable apps and software

What to do after you know your child is being groomed?

If you are pretty sure if  grooming is happening to  your child, you should perform the following activities to get your child rid of them,

  • Seek out a trusted adult, child’s family members, or relative for help and talk about what’s going on
  • Collect any possible evidence about grooming
  • Don’t try to have communication or confront the predator
  • Please don’t blame yourself as to is not your fault
  • Avoid your children or you have any contact with the groomer
  • Secure the help of the law or police

Conclusion:

We know every coin has two sides. Talking of digitization has both positive and negative aspects. One of the most negative aspects is online grooming. Children are being victims and are much vulnerable due to online platforms.

Due to the increase in online grooming cases, a parent or guardian should be able to educate about online safety and help them create awareness of both positivity and negativity about online platforms. Also, I believe this blog helped you learn more about online grooming, gave you certain ideas to tackle online groomer, and will help your children be safe online.

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