Sexual abuse, both in person and online, and exploitation to obtain sexually explicit images and videos of the child are the harm caused.
It can happen quickly or over time, but at its core it’s a process of exploiting trust to shift expectations of what safe behavior is and leveraging fear and shame to keep a child silent.
Grooming is really the start of the sexual abuse/exploitation process, and is a damaging part of the sexual abuse experience.
Offenders use a multitude of tactics to manipulate children into complying with their requests.
- Offender falsely identifying themselves online as one of the child’s peers either as a friend or a close relative.
- They flatter, compliments and support the predator.
- Promise of a “better” life just to lure them into the trap.
- Asking questions to see if a child is alone in a room.
- Promise of gifts, money, cell phones, tablets, drugs, alcohol.
- Using parents against the child like telling them your parents are too strict, your parents don’t understand you.
- Telling the child to keep their conversations a secret.
- Manipulating children to send photos or blackmailing them with photos the child may have already sent.
- Exchange of sexual pictures to make victim more comfortable in sending sexual pictures or videos in return.
Actions to take;
Because grooming is often the first stage of sexual abuse, it can create a sense for parents that if they can prevent grooming, they can eliminate the possibility of sexual abuse altogether.
- If you see, read, hear anything sexual from an adult towards a child online or in real life, report it.
- Empower yourself with knowledge. Learn more about the prevalence of child sexual abuse, how it happens, and how to reduce risk to your child.
- Stay up to date on emerging trends and risks online.
Report any case that you may suspect to be exploiting and causing any harm to your child. Always be on the lookout for your Child’s well-being, especially on the internet.