The verbage such as “grooming” means a method, which online predators lure minors into Internet relationships. These predators start their conversations, and this sets the stage for online relationships. More occurring then not, the suspects main goal is to set up an in person meeting, so that he or she can start sexual acts with the minor.
Social networking is one of the most preferred venues for grooming to occur. Predators will create fake social accounts as a way to hide their real identity, should anyone they know view their profile. They may use real photos of themselves, but normally their name and age will be completely fake. Predators then use social media tools, like graph, to view sites for potential victims.
After a predator has chosen their victim, the next process is to create contact in a manner that makes the victim want to continue. Here are some tactics that predators use when grooming their victims:
Pretend to have common interests
These predators will often research the victims social media profile in order to find ways to break the ice and start their discussion
Give out excessive compliments
Minors are in transition, both physically and mentally, and this means they are most likely to be confused and insecure. These groomers will take advantage of these feelings by constantly throwing complements their way, in order to make them feel special.
Establish trust and secrecy
Predators are normally the first to bring up that their relationship with the minor must be kept secret. This usually occurs after the minor has become emotionally involved and developed a trust in the groomer.
Manipulate the victim’s thoughts
Manipulation plays an important role in grooming, because groomers have to brainwash their victims into thinking that they are in a trusting relationship, and that the relationship is normal.
Make large and common promises
Predators will get an idea of their victims desires and things they’d like to do in their life, and they all claim those desires as their own as well. They’ll make promises, such as sending money, gifts, dinners, cars, vacations, etc. The suspect’s main goal is to create a situation where the victim believes this person can actually provide all the promises they make.
Exploit victims’ sexual curiosity
Teenagers are normally curious about sex, and online predators are well aware of this. They will use the topic of sex to keep their victims interested. Teenagers might view conversations about sex and sexual acts as something that is normal, which can make them even more vulnerable in the hands of a predator.
Make threats or use blackmail to control
Great lengths are gone by predators, to stay in control of their victims. If a victim questions the illegal activity and relationship, or attempts to stop it, the suspect may issue threats as a way to keep their victim under control. Threats could be made directly towards the minor or their family. This normally results in the victim continuing the relationship, due to fear alone.
It is always the best idea to keep computers in high traffic areas of the house. Limit the amount of time that minors are alone with the computer and if need be, install security programs, such as net nanny, to give you an idea of the websites and keywords, that are typed in.