THORN, a company that focuses on the digital fight against child sex trafficking, provides information on the ever increasing way for adults to ‘groom’ children and open children up to the risks of sex trafficking. Online grooming is a term used broadly to describe the tactics abusers deploy through the internet to sexually exploit children. It can happen quickly or over time, but at its core it’s a process of exploiting trust to shift expectations of what safe behavior is and leveraging fear and shame to keep a child silent.
Technology didn’t create grooming. It’s a process that has existed in offline abuse since well before we all carried tiny computers in our pockets. However, the variety of platforms in existence, and the prominence of digital environments in our lives, has increased abusers’ reach and opportunity.
Adults seeking to abuse children will go where kids are. As a result, grooming can theoretically happen just about anywhere. Learn what parents and caregivers need to know about online grooming: