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Online grooming describes a process where someone befriends a child online and builds up their trust with the intention of manipulating them, exploiting them or causing them harm.
What you need to know
Groomers will often build an emotional connection with a child to gain their trust and offenders might look to exploit issues such as loneliness, isolation, low self-esteem, family or relationship difficulties or exploring sexuality.
The child could be groomed by someone they know or a complete stranger. Groomers use a range of tactics to gain power and control over their intended victim. These can include posing as a non-threatening friend, flirting, bribing with real or virtual gifts, compliments, blackmail and isolating the child from friends and family.
Teaching children from a young age what healthy and respectful relationships look like can help them understand who to trust online and empower them to avoid or safely deal with inappropriate contact.
If you’re worried that a child is being groomed or sexually exploited, contact the police or the NSPCC immediately. Concerns about online grooming and sexual abuse can also be reported to CEOP at ceop.police.uk
Welsh Government guidance
Preventing online child sexual abuse - our work with the Internet Watch Foundation (IWF)
- Home Truths campaign
Information and advice for parents and carers to support conversations with their children about online grooming
- Gurls Out Loud campaign
Advice for children and young people on how to safely handle inappropriate contact online
Views from the experts
Online grooming: Let's close the door to online child sexual abusers
Susie Hargreaves, OBE, CEO of Internet Watch Foundation
Online child sexual grooming: Abuse and manipulation through communication
Professor Nuria Lorenzo-Dus, Applied Linguistics, Swansea University