What is grooming and what can we do to keep our children safe?

It is increasingly at an earlier age that children come into contact with the internet and social networks, and while this is only a consequence of the integration of technology into our lives, it has a dangerous aspect that it is important to be aware of.

The problem with children or adolescents starting to use social networks and the Internet earlier each time is that on many occasions they are unprepared and unaware of the dangers they face. One of the most dangerous, especially since it is one of the most common, is the groomingwhich refers to online bullying by an adult to a boy, girl or adolescent and normally has a sexual character.

There are different levels of grooming, but they all start from the same place, which is that the adult establishes a relationship with the minor. In most cases, this pretends to be another minor of age when in reality he is an adult and little by little the trust of the victim is gained.

Its objective is to create a bond with the minor and little by little move him away from his circle of trust (family or friends) to create a relationship of secrecy and intimacy. This is not something isolated, and it is that according to data from Save The Children, in 2019 one in five minors had suffered this type of harassment.

Before acting, the groomer has to make sure that no one else knows about the relationship they have established, and once he is sure begins to introduce sex into their conversationsLittle by little the tone of the messages rises and this is where the final phase begins.

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Here begins manipulation, threats, blackmail or coercion so that the victim send you sexual content, tell you sexual fantasies or in the most extreme case there is a physical sexual encounter.

How to prevent it

The main problem with this type of harassment is that, in most cases the victims are unaware of the danger to which they are exposed. For this reason, the most effective way to fight against this type of sexual violence is to prevent it, and this is done by educating the minor in various aspects.

The first thing will be to give affective-sexual education, that trains the minor in matters of sexuality, what is good or what is bad, to later train him in a safe and responsible use of digital tools.

Remember that children are not aware of the magnitude of the danger, so they are always victims and it is necessary that let us always show them our support and understanding.

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Deborah Acker

I write epic fantasy; self-published via KDP. Devoted dog mom to my 10 yr old GSD, Shadow! DM not a priority; slow response at best #amwriting #author.

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