What is 'online grooming'? Online grooming is where someone befriends a child online and builds up their trust with the intention of exploiting them and causing them harm. Harm caused by grooming can be sexual abuse, both in person and online, and exploitation to obtain sexually explicit images and videos of the child.
While it is fun to play games on-line and to be social on-line, it is also important for us as parents to keep our children safe. We need to educate ourselves on online etiquette and safety so we can instruct our children on how to protect themselves from inappropriate situations. It’s OK to play, but it should be done safely.
Here are some steps we recommend to help parents :
1) Know your child’s friends. If you don’t know them, ask who they are, where do they live, and if you can talk to their parents.
2) Initiate the online activity first by having your child make or joining a video chat with their friend or group of friends they intend to play online with. There are a lot of choices, Facetime, Skype, Whatapp, Zoom. Pick one that is easy for your child to use with minimal assistance from you. Help them to setup the contacts of their friends, and make sure you have parents’ permission.
3) When playing online, do not have group conversations inside the game, always have these conversations on the separate video chat independently but going on at the same time. Always be withing hearing distance of the conversations if you can not be in the same room during the online session with your kids.
4) If your child's avatar is approached online by another avatar from a person that you do not know, the best response is either silence, or to just walk away.
5) Have the difficult conversation with your child about grooming, so they know to tell you immediately if anything inappropriate happens while they are playing online with their friends. A great source of information on how to begin discussion this topic with your child: