In many circumstances, grooming online is faster and anonymous and results in children trusting an online ‘friend’ more quickly than someone they had just met ‘face to face’.
Those intent on sexually harming children can easily access information about them and they are able to hide their true identity, age and gender.
People who groom children may not be restricted by time or accessibility to a child as they would be in the ‘real world’.
Teach your children the five key Childnet SMART rules which remind young people to be SMART online. You should go through these tips with your children.
S – SAFE Keep safe by being careful not to give out personal information – such as your name, email, phone number, home address, or school name – to people who you don’t know online.
M – MEETING Meeting someone you have only been in touch with online can be dangerous. Only do so with your parents’/carers’ permissions & when they can be present.
A – ACCEPTING Accepting e-mails, IM messages or opening files from people you don’t know or trust can be dangerous – they may contain viruses or nasty messages.
R – RELIABLE Someone online may be lying about who they are, and information you find on the internet may not be reliable.
T – TELL Your parent, carer or a trusted adult if someone or something makes you feel uncomfortable or worried.