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Understanding online grooming

We explain online grooming and ways to keep your kids safe.

Parent and child looking at laptop talking about online grooming and online safety

It's scary to think about it… but being aware is important

Taking the time to learn about online grooming can help you protect your child.

It's an offence for an adult to start an online relationship with someone under the age of 16 with the intention of having a sexual relationship with them.

It's against the law – even if the adult and the child never meet in real life.

How to spot online grooming

They might do any of these things or a combination of them:

Ask for photos

Ask for videos

Ask to meet face to face

Offer gifts or favours

Make a child feel special

Persistently seek out the child

Ask a child for a favour

Ask for their phone number

Ask where they live

Ask if they're alone

Find things in common with the child

Make threats or manipulate the child to do things

Signs that a child may be at risk

Here are some things to keep an eye out for:

Unexplained gifts, online game credits, or money
Secrecy about who they’re talking to online
Getting defensive when you ask about online activities
Changes in sexual knowledge, language, or behaviours

It's never too late to report it. Trust your instincts. Act if something doesn't feel right by visiting ThinkUKnow.

What you can do

If you're worried that a child may be at risk here's what you can do:

Talk to them about your concerns

Tell them you’re there to help and want them to be safe

Tell them it’s not their fault if they’re in this situation

Report suspicious behaviour to Police

Help them check their privacy settings

Help them block or un-friend the person

Teach them not to share passwords or accounts

Have them ask before agreeing to meet someone

Find out more about parental controls on devices

Learn more by visiting ThinkUKnow or eSafety

Visit eSafety iParent for more resources

We all have a role to play in keeping kids safe

There’s always someone you can talk to and get advice from.

You're not alone in protecting your child from online grooming. If you need support call the Parentline service in your State or Territory and talk through your options with a counsellor.

Encourage the child to talk with a counsellor if they're worried or upset about anything that happens online.

Kids Helpline is open 24/7. Give us a call, send us an email or talk to us on WebChat.

This content was last reviewed 15/02/2019

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