What Is Online Grooming? How To Protect Yourself?

Online grooming refers to the approach by which a person builds a relationship with a child or adolescent over the internet. The groomer intends to establish trust and emotional connection for sexual abuse, exploitation, or manipulation. This method typically involves befriending the victim, gaining their trust, and exploiting them into engaging in sexual activities or providing intimate images or videos.

How Does Online Grooming Happen?

Groomers often use different online platforms such as social media, messaging apps, online games, or even chat rooms to target their victims. They may use tactics including overpraise, presents, emotional manipulation, and deception to build a relationship.  After that, they slowly desensitize the victim to inappropriate behavior.

Online groomers may pretend to be someone else. They usually select victims based on perceived vulnerability and attempt to befriend them by sharing similar hobbies or interests. Once they gain the victim’s trust they try to emotionally blackmail or threaten the victim. These groomers may be somebody the victim has already met through family or social circle. So, parents, guardians, and educators need to familiarize children with online safety. Children should be taught the risks associated with online grooming. Moreover, parents should monitor their online activities to help thwart such exploitation.

Important Info!

Helpline: 1991

Email: [email protected]

Website: https://www.fia.gov.pk/ccw

Warning Signs

The person contacting you online will lie about his/her gender, where they live, and their actual motivation. Here are some warning signs:

  • You will feel uncomfortable as the groomers will ask intrusive questions and test boundaries.
  • They will make excuses that their webcam or video app is not working when you ask them to video chat. They actually don’t want you to see how they look.
  • They make inappropriate comments about your appearance and body. Be careful of anyone who gives a lot of compliments for no reason.
  • Groomers will contact you multiple times in different ways. For instance, if you meet a groomer on Reddit, He/she will ask for your phone number to start direct messaging.
  • They want to keep the contact private. They may ask you to only call or text when no one is around.
  • They will ask for favors and money, once trust has been established.
  • They insist on meeting and will call you a bad friend if you disagree.

How To Protect Yourself From Unwanted Contacts?

  • Make your accounts Private.
  • Delete contacts who look suspicious.
  • Screenshot evidence that makes you feel uncomfortable.
  • Report & block the account.
  • Report cyber-harassment to Cybercirme wing-FIA

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Laiba Mohsin

Laiba is an Electrical Engineer seeking a placement to gain hands-on experience in relevant areas of telecommunications. She likes to write about tech and gadgets. She loves shopping, traveling and exploring things.

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