Raising kids in the digitally-connected world is complicated. Kids spend all their free time on instant messengers chatting with their friends and making the new ones. So, there is always a chance that your kid may be involved in communication with people who aren`t who they say they are. Do you know what to look for if someone is “grooming” your child?
What is Child Grooming?
Grooming is a process by which a predator befriends and gains kid`s trust in order to take advantage of the child for sexual purposes. According to the reported incidents 1 in 5 girls and 1 in 8 boys are groomed before the age of 18. This number supposed to be much higher if all cases were reported.
Child molesters are masters of manipulation and always pretend to be kind and helpful. However, there are grooming signs every parent should be aware of. Child Molesters are very foxy and inventive to get kid`s trust. Besides they are notoriously friendly, nice, attentive and likable. They strategically target their victims by installing into a kid`s private life.
How Does Online Grooming Work?
In the era of sockpuppet accounts, it is very easy to be someone you are not on the Net, so kids can sometimes end up having conversations with people whose real intentions remain to be a murky secret.
Child molesters go to the Social Networks which are the most popular among youngsters (Facebook, Instagram, etc.) and pretend to be one of their peers. They may use fake profile pictures, have similar interests, say nice things to a kid or even offer gifts.
Once the kid`s confidence is obtained, the groomer steers the conversation towards inappropriate topics, asking to send nude or semi-nude photos of themselves. Some child molesters may try to set up a meeting in real life or threat to share pictures with kid`s family and friends.
Key Statistics on Child Grooming
- Online grooming victims are frequently aged between 13-17;
- Online grooming usually takes place over the digital devices like smartphones, tablets, and PC;
- Young girls are most at risk when it comes to online grooming;
- The majority of online predators are males;
- Youngsters often engage in interaction with groomers willingly;
What is grooming behavior
A child molester is an expert at gaining kid`s trust using gifts and flattery. You need to raise a red flag if a person:
- Pay special attention to a kid;
- Is involved in kid`s leisure activities that may entail them being alone together;
- Pretends to be a sympathetic listener;
- Buys toys or treats for a kid;
- Tells risky jokes to trigger kid`s innate sexual curiosity;
These behaviors are applicable in offline environments and can be used for face-to-face communication.
Here is the list of the most wide-spread tactics used by predators online:
- Flattering and giving compliments;
- Offering gifts or any other goods;
- Establishing mutual interests;
- Engaging in personal conversations;
- Steering the conversation into inappropriate topics;
- Asking for nude or semi-nude photos;
- Showing an interest in a face-to-face meeting;
How to Identify Grooming Behavior
Online grooming may be difficult to recognize, as groomers may specifically warn kids not to breathe a word about it. Here is the number of warning signs parents need to look out:
- A kid spends a lot of time texting and surfing the Net;
- A kid keeps in secret with whom they are talking and what sites they visit;
- A kid uses the inappropriate language of sexual nature;
- A kid seats quietly in a room or stays up late;
- A kid becomes emotionally violate, aggressive or secretive;
- A kid poses new items, especially electronic devices, which you didn`t buy.
A kid switches screens when you come near the computer.
How to protect kids?
Rule 1. No Secrets
Make it a rule never have secrets in your house. If secrets allowed once, a kid would continue to keep secrets between another adult and themselves. And sexual predators may take advantage of this situation.
Rule 2. Open Communication
Keep an open line of communication with your kid. Talk about inappropriate behavior, physical limits and sexual abuse. Make sure your kid trusts you enough to inform in case of danger or inappropriate requests.
Rule 3. Educate your kid
Help your kid to differentiate what is good or bad in the real and virtual world. Explain what topics are not appropriate to discuss and what actions are strictly prohibited. Teach your kid how to develop critical thinking and not to accept everything at face value.
Rule 4. Be a Visible Parent
Be involved in your kid’s life and daily activities. Be aware of all your kid`s activities and know with whom they communicate online and in real life. More visible and present a parent in kid’s life is, harder the target becomes for a child molester.
Rule 5. Set Clear Visible Boundaries
Establish clear family rules for personal privacy and behavior and discuss them with all family members. Also, let your kid set boundaries of their own. As your kid matures, the boundaries need to be changed too. For instance, before entering the room of your teen knock on the door.
Rule 6. Trust Your Gut
Trust your guts out and be ready to raise a red flag if you notice something inappropriate concerning your child. If your inner voice tells you that something is not right, don`t allow this person to communicate with your kid.
Rule 7. Use monitoring apps
Use parental control apps like Kidgy to keep your kid`s smartphone activities in your own hands. With Kidgy you can:
– Track GPS location. It will help you to be aware of all your kid`s whereabouts and view their route history.
– Monitor call logs. This feature provides you with the call chronology including date and time of every call. If needed you can restrict unwanted callers from reaching your kid`s phone, simply blocking them.
– Read text messages. All sent, received and even deleted text messages will be at your disposal at any convenient time. A parent will see a date and time of every text as well as a sender and recipient.
– Moderate Browsing history. Parents can view the list of URLs their kids visit and block adult ones. It can protect your kid from being exposed to the undesired or violent content.
– Supervise a list of apps. View the list of installed apps and block those you consider dangerous or age-inappropriate for your kid.
– Restrict Internet access. Block the Internet access for sleep and school hours to prevent sleep deprivation and inattention
– Be aware of dangers. Let your kid inform you when danger occurs with s help of Punic Button.
– Set tasks remotely. Use Daily Scheduler to educate your kids remotely and follow their progress.
To protect a kid from harm, abuse, and inappropriate people is the strongest desire of any parent. You may think that such things can`t happen to your child, but they can. As a parent, the best thing you can do to protect your kid from child molesters is to be aware of the warning signs and be ready to raise a red flag before something happens. Beyond that, in the era of modern technologies, it became much more comfortable to prevent unwanted interactions and protect your kid from potential dangers, having installed a parental app. With Kidgy you can always track where your kid is, and your kid can always inform you if a danger occurs.