Online Safety – Contact

Online Sexual Abuse

A ‘groomer’ is someone who makes an emotional connection with someone online or in person to fulfil an ulterior motive which is often sexual. Children are commonly preyed upon online in this way and can subsequently become engaged in sexual conversations online or by text messages, sending nude images of themselves more commonly referred to as ‘sexting’, sending sexual videos of themselves or performing a sexual act live on webcam. In some cases this culminates in actual physical contact with the groomer then arranging to meet up with children in person. These ‘groomers’ can be of any age, gender, sexual orientation, race or religious background and rarely provide honest details to the child speaking to them.

Once a child sends someone sexual photos or videos of themselves, they lose control over what happens to them. The other person may end up sharing them with other people who might then keep sharing them. Someone could even use these images to blackmail a child. For example, they may say that they’ll post them online if they don’t keep sending more images. Similarly, when children have relationships with one another and engage in sharing of sexualised images, upon the relationship ending threats can also be made to leak these images to peers and this is referred to as ‘revenge porn’. Further information and advice can be accessed on the ThinkUKnow website.

Online Radicalisation

Although rare, online activity and feelings of stress and isolation may be exploited by online groomers to target vulnerable children and young people – including extremist influences seeking to radicalise vulnerable people. Extremists promote hateful views, for example through conspiracy theories blaming a particular group for the coronavirus, or through spreading misinformation about these groups’ responses to it. Issues including Black Lives Matter, and prior to this Brexit, are also being manipulated by extremists to suit their own agendas. Online exploitation is often hard to recognise. Sometimes there are clear warning signs; in other cases the changes are less obvious. Although some of these traits may be quite common among teenagers, taken together they could indicate that your child may need help. The NSPCC website lists some of these signs.


Learn how to stay safe.

Sexual exploitation

Advice to help you keep children and young people safe from sexual exploitation

Personal data misuse

Tips and advice to protect your child’s privacy online


Our online tool can offer information on services local to you, the law, as well as tips on how to gather evidence.

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