Keeping children safe online

A Parent’s Guide to Online Grooming

online grooming online grooming Some people try to use the Internet, social media and gaming to groom children and young people.
skips safety net worried boy What is online grooming?
Grooming is about building a relationship using lies and nice words to gain a person’s trust. This trust is then used to trick the person into doing the wrong things, make bad choices and to hurt them.
The groomer then makes the victim feel scared by threatening to tell others if they do not continue to do what they want them to do. This is called ‘blackmail’.
Grooming and blackmail can be far easier online.
sharing images on social media Where does this happen?
People who want to groom children will use any sites and services which are popular with young people. This includes , gaming, social media and live streaming channels
They can find out a lot about individuals before they make contact by looking for things posted online.
online grooming online grooming How does this happen?
In games and chatrooms groomers try to start conversations and build trust. They can create multiple online identities and even pretend to be a young person. They trick children into chatting and sharing images through private chats using social media, mobile chat apps and webcams.
They can send out multiple ‘friend requests’ at random in the hope that young people will accept them.
This doesn’t mean you should panic or not let your child go online, simply that they should be aware that there can be risks on any platform they are using.

What you can do to help keep your child safe online

  • You should assume that if a site or app is popular with young people then groomers with an interest in children will try to use it to communicate with them.
  • Always discuss regularly with your child what they do online and who with. They should be wary of people they talk to online, not share too much personal information and be aware of how they appear in their online profiles.
  • Things to look out for:
    • Has your child suddenly become very secretive?
    • Are they sad or withdrawn but won’t say why? Let them know you’re there to listen.
    • Do they seem distracted?
    • Do they have sudden mood swings? Mood swings are not uncommon but they can be a sign that someone has built a relationship with your child which is affecting their moods.
    • Are they unable to switch off from their phone or social media? This can be a sign someone is controlling them.
  • Always let your child know that they should always say if they see or hear anything online that makes them feel scared or uncomfortable and to never arrange to meet someone who they have met online.
  • Let them know that they do not have to feel as though they have done something wrong, nobody is going to get cross and it is not their fault.
  • If you are concerned with anything you or your child has seen or asked to do, please call Childline or tell your child’s school.

Always encourage your child to:

tell a trusted adult
Tell a parent or trusted adult, like a teacher.
older brother or sister
Tell an older brother or sister.
childline 0800 1111
Tell Childline.

They will know how to help.


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Safety Net book and pages

Safety Net is an award-winning fun and colourful resource packed with 24 pages of engaging content, illustrations, crosswords and wordsearch puzzles proven to help children stay safe when using the Internet, social media, gaming and more.

The friendly format will encourage your child, from an early age, to be open about what they do and see online without fearing they have done something wrong.

Suitable for:

  • Children 6-14 years.
  • All parents to read to their young children.

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