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What is the practice of grooming?

What is the practice of grooming?
What is the practice of grooming?

The practice of grooming is unfortunately unknown, although this name may not sound like anything to you. When some adults pose as minors on the Internet or try to establish contact with children or adolescents and that this leads to a relationship of trust, then moving to emotional control and, finally, blackmail for sexual purposes … it is usually referred to as that term.

Grooming Practice: What are the Goals?

Obviously, the objectives tend to have sexual purposes, whether they are the production of images or videos with a sexual connotation or nature for their own consumption or sent to child pornography networks; or for encounters in people with that minor and abusing it. They can also have another objective and this is sexual exploitation and child prostitution.

Grooming practice: How does it happen?

Contact between both parties usually begins through some internet medium such as social networks, gaming platforms, forums, online communities. All these services may well be used by many minors for the purpose of healthy conversation, such as children.

The aggressor can use a deception to facilitate access to the possible victim by creating a false profile with ages and tastes similar to those of the minor. In this way it will be attractive to accept the friend request. After this, you can propose to the minor to continue talking privately or perhaps a video call, by Whatsapp or skype.

These adults posing as children can have infinite patience, in some cases, and can gain the child’s trust by talking to them regularly for a time. At a later stage in the relationship of trust, you can coax the child with some physical or even virtual gift or perhaps a promise.

Little by little they will become intimate with the minor or minors and little by little the conversations will increase in tone. In this way, they will get the child to lower his guard and to trust his new “friend” more. In this way they can even send material such as intimate images or videos. They may even extract a secret that they can later use against you, when they do not want to comply with the wishes of the future aggressor. Take a look at the best teacher blogs for the use of technology in education.

Grooming practice: What are the consequences for the minor?

They will be of different severity that can range from abuse and sexual assault, since the request for photographs and videos is already considered an abuse. Sometimes children are blackmailed into “voluntarily” sending this information about them and then even more so when the aggressor has it.

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If the child is seen with the other person, the aggressor can carry out the sexual assaults in a physical way. In this way it compromises, never better said, the physical and emotional safety of the minor.

In these cases, anxiety and depression are common psychological consequences that appear after abuse. This will also depend on the situation and the duration of it.

The problems of shame before parents or friends, sociability, academic performance and self-esteem are deteriorated and greatly affected. There will also be less ease of concentration for all tasks, including studying. The minor may systematically isolate himself due to abuse. Ultimately they may even deny that this happened out of fear or shame of what happened.

How can we prevent it?

It is important to teach children to maintain safe navigation and thus agree on rules for using the internet at home. Education about technologies and their use is essential for the safety of minors. It is also a good idea to let them use the devices in common areas and not to leave them alone in their room.

When children are very young, extreme precautions can be taken to use the devices as a family. They are good strategies to educate children healthily in technology, but there will come a time when we must give them autonomy in this field.

In any online conversation, we must be cautious when sharing our personal information and stay alert: not everything is what it seems. In addition, we must avoid risky practices because on the internet it is quite easy to impersonate someone who is not. For this reason it is important to explain to them that there are people who can be bad. With simple language so that the child understands that not everyone is good and that there are people who cheat with profiles to do harm.

Over time it is necessary to ask ourselves if they are mature enough to have their own mobile or device, with the responsibility that this entails. Sending photos or making video calls is a risk that they do not always reflect on, they can produce compromising or intimate content without them being aware of it.

We must speak naturally about love and sexuality to children, so this will help them differentiate healthy relationships from those that are not. They really must know how a grooming situation occurs and its consequences to know how to protect themselves.

Minors’ access to the Internet must be progressive and have the support of an adult, so that they learn little by little how to use new technologies in a safe and responsible way. For younger children, we can install parental control systems on devices to limit their use and monitor their activity.

Grooming Practice: How to React in Case of Problems

If something of any kind has unfortunately happened, children should know that they can turn to trusted adults for help, as it is a serious problem.

If the minor has decided to tell us what has happened or is happening, we must value the effort that this implies and not doubt or question his words. Do not blame the victim and reaffirm our support in all its forms. Don’t scold him.

Adults should not get carried away by the situation or act without thinking. We should not talk to the harasser or delete relevant information such as conversations, photos sent, the profile of the social network, etc. And much less should we accept blackmail from the aggressor.

Faced with a grooming situation, it is essential to contact the police because it is a crime that they will know how to indicate the steps to follow. In addition, there may be other minors affected by the same harasser so with our complaint we will involve ourselves in their detention.

The consequences are complicated and difficult to face, both for the minor and for his family. For this reason, it is good that they go to an emotional support center to offer the necessary follow-up.