For Children

What Grooming is?

Grooming is a term used to describe how people who want to sexually abuse children and young people approach them and their families and gain their trust. They do this in all sorts of places, such as at home or in the neighborhood, children’s school, youth and sports club, local church and workplace.

Grooming can also take place online by people who form relationships with children and pretend to be their friends. They do this by finding out personal information about that child, such as their likes and dislikes and their family circumstances. For example, if a child is lonely, a potential abuser will pay attention to them and develop a “special relationship” that might make it easier to manipulate the child.

The potential abuser will also try to find out if the child would tell a protective adult about what is happening. He will seek to find out as much as possible about the child’s family and social networks and, if he feels it is ‘safe enough’, will then try to isolate the child. He may use flattery and promises of gifts or threats and intimidation to gain some control.

It’s easy for ‘carers’ to find children online. They generally use chat rooms that are focused on the interests of young people. They often pretend to be younger and can even change their gender. Many provide a false physical description of themselves, some sending pictures of other people pretending to be them. Guardians may also seek out children by searching personal websites such as social media sites.

How is grooming different online?

Often, online grooming is quicker and more anonymous and can lead children to trust an online ‘friend’ more quickly than someone they have just met face-to-face. People who want to corrupt children online can easily access information about the child and hide their true identity, age and gender. Those who corrupt children online may not be restricted by time or the possibility of having an intimate conversation with a child as they would be in the ‘real world’.

Stay safe when surfing online!

Learn the five key rules that remind you to stay safe online.


Stay safe by being careful not to give out personal information – such as your name, email, phone number, home address or school name – to people you know online.


Meeting someone you’ve only been in contact with online can be dangerous. Only do it with your parents/carers’ permission when they can be present.


Accepting emails, IMs (instant messages) or opening files from people you don’t know or trust can be dangerous – they may contain viruses or nasty messages.


It is possible for someone online to lie about their true identity, and the information you find on the internet may not be trustworthy.


Tell a parent, carer or trusted adult if someone or something makes you feel uncomfortable or worried.