Child sex predators have many ways of approaching and befriending their victims. One of the most onerous is online grooming, also known as social or sexual grooming.
When children visit online chat rooms or play video games with others over the internet, they can never be sure of other’s identities. This makes the perfect scenario for child sex abusers to meet victims and try to attract, or groom them, for a face-to-face meeting. Online grooming of children is most frequent for teens ages 13-17, especially the younger ages 13-14, and the majority are girls.
Internet predators frequent those sites that children visit. Once communication is established, the predator will try to elicit clues about the child’s identity, home, school and parents’ names in an attempt to get near the child. Initial conversations will appear innocent as the adult tries to gain the child’s trust. The perpetrator will not reveal his real identity or age to the child. To create artificial mutual interests, the adult will be well-acquainted with popular music, trendy clothing and games, sports teams and will try to relate to the child via “shared” hobbies and interests.
As the relationship grows, the groomer instills in the child the belief that her or his parents don’t understand them as he does. The predator may gradually introduce sexually-explicit language and pornography to lower the victim’s inhibitions.
The goals of a child sex predator include arranging a personal meeting with the underage victim for sexual photos, sexual relations and/or trafficking.
Parents – Watch for Signs of Sexual Grooming
Whether the grooming process begins with an online contact or in-person, watch for these suggestive signs if an adult:
Pays your child many compliments
Buys gifts, especially electronic devices specifically for communication
Tries to find out how closely the child’s online activity is monitored
Arranges for a one-on-one meeting with your child without other adult supervision
You can help protect your child from online grooming by:
Keeping an open conversation about his or her online activities – what people they are chatting with, games that they are playing and websites that they are visiting.
Helping your child feel safe in your family environment, especially when talking about sensitive topics.
Monitor their electronic devices for suspicious communications.
Pay attention to adults with whom they spend time.
A sexual predator may also try to ingratiate himself to parents and caregivers.
Let Us Know If Your Child Is a Victim of Sexual Abuse
If you or a family member has experienced bullying, sexual assault, sexual harassment of any kind, or has been injured in an accident or by any other type of personal injury, or needs help with any employment discrimination or family law issue, please contact the Essex County Law Offices of Paul S. Foreman, P.C. immediately. We have the right experience to get the optimal results for your case. Please call us for a free consultation. Attorney Paul S. Foreman, a personal injury attorney in Roseland, will fight to secure justice for you and your family. You can reach us at 973-315-3232 or contact us via the website.