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“ look familiar. Add me 😉

How old are you? 

 I’d really love to meet you.”

Sound familiar? Of course, it sounds like what may seem to be a genuine conversation starter. But if this is being said to a 12 year old school girl, we should be worried. This is exactly what many young girls AND boys are facing in the deceiving yet attractive world of technology. Online child grooming is a serious issue and is being looked into by the Australian Institute of Criminology.It’s called child grooming and it’s becoming a frightening issue arising in contemporary society. A child groomer is generally known to lure a child or children into a trustworthy relationship by usually faking an identity which appeals to the victim. Facebook, MSN/Windows Live and even websites such as Neopets (an online virtual pet world, where individuals create an online pet and integrate them into the community with other Neopets) are tools for child groomers to find their victims.

The most recent case of child grooming was by a Melbournian who used Facebook to groom minors for sex. The 22-year-old is in jail for 15 months for posing as a 14 year-old boy and using the social network site as a service to seduce young girls. Then after presenting several images, videos and graphics to the child and normalising the idea of sexual activity, a child groomer tries to make the child accept this sort of behaviour.

The video below explains the actual process of child grooming and how serious it actually is. 

Similar to child grooming, recently in New South Wales there was the case of the ‘facebook killer’. An 18 year old girl was lured into bushland and murdered after a 22-year old man faked his identity as a team leader from the NSW Wildlife Information Rescue and Education Service. He found out she was an animal lover after researching into her hobbies and lifestyle using that to gain her trust. Child groomers also use hobbies and interests of children to communicate freely and attract them.

Parents need to monitor their children when on the internet. China has gone as far as banning Facebook, but all that’s really needed is parental supervision.

In this day and age, the internet has become a playground for predators. Whether you monitor your child or not determine’s how vulnerable they are to predators.