Child grooming refers to all activities deliberately undertaken to befriend and establish an emotional connection with a minor. The aim of this ‘special relationship’ is to lower the child’s inhibitions in preparation of sexual abuse or exploitation. Child grooming may be used to lure minors into illicit businesses such as child prostitution or child pornography.
In the process of grooming the perpetrators are able to persuade children to meet them in real life. That is the reason why parents and teachers should tell their children and students about the rules of communication with virtual friends.
- Before agreeing to meet someone you met online make sure you know this person well. Ask about family, interests etc. If you notice any inconsistencies in the story, or if it seems to be too smooth to be true, one has to consider the matter.
- It is important to tell adults (parent/guardian/family member) about the intention to meet someone you met in the Internet and tell more about this person.
- It is important to tell adults (parent/guardian/family member) about the time and place of the meeting
- On the Internet it is very easy to pretend to be someone you are not. It is important to remember about this at all time and to remind children.
- If a child want to meet a friend from the Internet, you may allow this and accompany him or her to the meeting. If nothing suspicious comes out during the meeting, you may leave. If a “friend” refuses to come to the meeting once he finds out about the planned presence of an adult, one has to grow suspicious.
- Teach your children to trust their intuition and do the same. if something seems wrong it is best to refrain from meeting the person you met on the Internet.