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What is online grooming?

We explain online grooming so you can stay safe and in control.

A shadowy masked figure pretending to be someone else online

Sadly not everyone online is your friend

It’s easy for someone to pretend to be someone else.

  • Even if they seem friendly they might end up hurting you
  • It might start out fun but then turn scary or stressful
  • It feels good when someone is nice to you, so it's easy to let your guard down
  • Some people want you to let your guard down so they can take advantage of you

Making contact online with someone under 16 with the intention of having a sexual relationship is against the law.

How online grooming can happen

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

Like the same things as you

Offer gifts or favours

Say they love you or have never met anyone like you

Are very understanding when you say 'no' at first

Make you feel special

Ask you for a favour

Ask for photos

Ask where you live

Ask for videos

Ask for your phone number

Ask to meet up IRL

Ask you to keep it secret

Get angry with you

Make you feel pressured

They might have a nice profile but you have no idea who they really are.

Steer clear of suspicious behaviour

There’s a few things you can do to stay in control and shake off suspicious people you meet:

Trust your gut and if something seems ‘off’ then leave
Be wary of someone you don’t know who tries to be your friend
Be wary of someone who gives lots of compliments for no reason
Don’t respond to their attempts at being your friend; block them
Report suspicious behaviour
Check your privacy settings and keep your details private

Someone I know might be at risk

If you're worried that a young person may be at risk, here’s what you can do:

Talk to them about your concerns

Help them check their privacy settings

Help them report suspicious behaviour

Talk about it with a parent or carer

Help them block or un-friend the person

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

Encourage the child to talk to someone and get support

Learn more by visiting ThinkUKnow or eSafety

Talk it through with a Kids Helpline counsellor

We all have a role to play in keeping young people safe

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

You're not alone in protecting a young person 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 young person in your life to talk with a counsellor if they're worried or upset about anything that happens online.

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

This content was last reviewed 31/03/2019

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