How to spot the signs

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Who could be doing this?

People who groom others online can be men or women, any age and from any cultural background. Children and young people can be groomed by strangers or by people they know, including friends and members of their family or you might believe that the person, who is doing the grooming, really cares about you and is your boyfriend or girlfriend.

Generally if we are careful online, we really do know who we are in contact with, but here are some possible signs to consider that might suggest that all is not ok and the person you are in contact with might not be who you think they are.

Signs to look for and things to think about

•Attention & flattery – someone you don’t know other than online, says lots of really nice things about you and how you look on your profile page– if someone starts doing this ask yourself – what do they really want?

•Sexy talk – someone talking sexy or ‘dirty’ with you; about what sexual things that they might like you to do, or that they might say they would like to do to or with you. Be careful if someone is very flirty with you or tries to get you to talk about sex or look at pornography – ask yourself why are they doing this?

•Private chats – the person you have been talking to might ask you to start having private chat so that no-one else can see what you are talking about. If someone asks you to do this, ask yourself why do they need to talk privately with you?

•Sexy pictures – You might be told everyone does it, but ask yourself why do they really want a picture or film of me? What will they do with it? Will they share it with someone I don’t know? Remember if you share a photo via the internet it can be shared with anyone without your knowledge or permission. If you are unsure don’t press send! Pictures and film can be used to threaten you and make you send more pictures or do other things that you are uncomfortable with. Don’t share anything you wouldn’t want your friends and family to see.

•Secrets – If someone online asks you to keep secrets, think about why they would want you to do this? If it is because they don’t want other people knowing about them being in contact with you, ask yourself why? Real friends wouldn’t mind your parents /carers knowing that you are chatting to them.

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Wakefield Council Youth Work Team is a subsidiary of WMDC Children and Young People's Directorate (c) Wakefield Council 2013