Dealing with online grooming

Online grooming is when someone tricks or pressures a young person into doing something sexual - like sending a naked video or photo. The individuals may also be pressuring the young person into meeting face to face for sexual activity. Online grooming happens in many places online including social networking sites, messaging apps, chat rooms, dating apps and online games.

Common signs that someone is trying to groom someone include sending lots of messages often via different platforms, they ask you to keep your conversation secret, they ask you about where your parents are and if they can see your chats, they start sending you sexual messages and they try to blackmail you into doing something you don’t want to do.

If you want to understand grooming in more detail there is lots of useful information about grooming on the Childline website.

Online grooming - Do this first!

  1. Report it to the Child Exploitation and Online Protection command (CEOP) - Whether you are a parent of a child at risk, a child who needs support or a third party who is concerned about a child we strongly recommend that you visit the CEOP site now and report the issue. The CEOP site talks you through when to make a report, what happens when you make a report and how CEOP can help. The sooner you get the right specialist support the better.

What to do if you are being groomed?

  1. Do not send any further photos or videos - don’t give in to the pressure to send pictures or videos of yourself - or to meet the person in real life. It wont stop if you do and may only get worse.

  2. Ask the person to stop - To start it is worth telling the person to stop. Make it clear that you are not conformable with the nature of the conversation and you want it to stop.

  3. Tell an adult you trust - If the person doesn’t stop you should speak to an adult you trust. It may seen a bit scary and embarrassing to tell someone close to you, but they will have your best interests at heart and help you get out of this situation. If you want to speak to someone else first consider contacting an organisation like Childline.

  4. See a doctor or nurse - if you have had sexual contact with the individual you may want to see a doctor or nurse who can check you are ok and give you any medical help.

  5. Report it - Again there is lots of help out there and you don’t need suffer alone. Visit the CEOP website and report it.

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