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REPORT CRIME ONLINEEMERGENCY CALL 999

Online grooming

Online grooming is when someone uses the internet to trick, force or pressure a person into doing something sexual, such as sending an intimate video or picture of themselves. If this is happening or has happened to you or someone you know, we can help.

Preventing online grooming

Whilst the internet can be a great way to communicate and socialise, we urge you to take care when talking to new people online. Social media and online dating sites can be popular tools for paedophiles and rapists to target individuals by watching what they’re doing and building false relationships.

Our top tips for staying safe online is to;

  • remember that once something is sent online it can never be removed
  • not give out your personal details
  • trust your instincts. If you think something feels wrong, let us know
  • not do anything you don’t want to do - speak to someone you trust if you’re feeling pressured to meet or talk to someone
  • tell people you trust where you’re going if you decide to meet up with someone you haven’t met before
  • tell the person you’re meeting that people are aware of where you are.

Signs of online grooming

Groomers often lie about who they really are, making it hard to know whether someone is genuine online, signs to look out for include;

  • bombarding you with messages
  • asking you to keep your conversations secret
  • trying to find out more about your personal life
  • sending sexual messages
  • trying to blackmail you.

Visit our internet safety webpages for more advice.

Online child safety advice for parents and carers

Everyday thousands of messages, posts and photos are sent via social media channels such as Facebook, Snapchat and Twitter. As a parent or carer, it can be difficult to know how to protect and monitor your child online.

When sexual exploitation happens online, young people may be persuaded or forced to;

  • send or post sexually explicit images of themselves
  • take part in sexual activities via webcam or smartphone
  • have sexual conversations by text or online.

View further information about online dating and  how to stay safe online.

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