Here are some signs of grooming that could signal a child is involved with a predator online
- A significant change in the time they spend on their devices
- Sexual knowledge, comments and behaviours beyond what you would expect for their age
- Volatile changes in mood
- Being secretive about their online activity and friends
- Communicating with people they’ve never met in person
A child may change their device habits if they’re being groomed by spending more or less time online – this may be influenced by other factors like school workload, after school activities and general emotional wellbeing. However if there is no other obvious cause for this change, it could be a sign of grooming.
If a child uses sexual language or behaves in a sexual way that you wouldn’t expect for their age range, you need to consider where they have picked this up from. While it is possible for them to have learnt it from an older friend or sibling, this is often a sign that they are engaging in conversations of a sexual nature with someone.
Mood swings are common among most children and teenagers which again can be influenced by a number of factors causing stress. However, if your child frequently has mood swings with no identifiable cause, it could be due to the mental stress of keeping a secret and engaging in sexually explicit conversations online.
Why do sexual predators target children online?
Sexual predators use online platforms to target children as they can pretend to be children themselves to gain your child’s trust. Once they’ve achieved this, they may try to physically attack children by gaining information about their home and school – or alternatively they may exploit the child’s devices by engaging in explicit conversations and sharing pictures of a sexual nature.
Ultimately, many of these issues would be solved if you could make sure that your child was only interacting with other children verified as real children online rather than predators posing as children. At CAP Certified, we have implemented new technology that verifies each child using data from schools and local authorities making it impossible for predators posing as children to be in touch with real children. By using CAP technology you can feel confident that your child is safe from online grooming. To find out more about CAP Certified, visit www.capcertified.com/.