Child grooming is a term which describes the following situation. When an adult becomes friends with a child, this is sometimes done for a reason. The reason is to lower the inhibitions of the child and to prepare for sexual abuse. So, action taken by an adult to form a trusting relationship with a child, with the intent of later having sexual contact, is 'child grooming'.
The act of grooming a child may include activities that are legal, but later lead to sexual contact. The grooming is done to gain the child's trust, and the trust of those responsible for the child. Children are less likely to report a crime if it involves someone the child knows, trusts, and cares about. Also, a relationship with the family means the child's parents will be less likely to believe any accusations.
Examples of grooming[change | edit source]
- Taking interest in someone's child (having a "special" friend)
- Giving gifts or money to the child for no obvious reason
- Showing pornography to the child - this is illegal in many countries
- Talking about sexual topics that are not age-appropriate
- Invading the child's privacy (e.g. walking in on him/her in the bathroom)
- Hugging, kissing, or other physical contact if the child does not want this attention
- Allowing the child to get away with behavior that is not right.
- Talking to the child about problems that would normally be discussed with adults (e.g. marriage problems).
Child grooming on the internet[change | edit source]
In 2003, MSN implemented restrictions in their chat rooms purportedly intended to help protect children from adults seeking sexual conversations with them. In 2005, Yahoo! chat rooms were investigated by the New York State attorney general's office for allowing users to create rooms whose names suggested that they were being used for this purpose. That October, Yahoo! agreed to "implement policies and procedures designed to ensure" that such rooms would not be allowed.
An organization called Perverted-Justice (known as PJ) uses PJ operatives posing as underage teens on the internet to identify potential child molesters and turn the information over to the police and the courts. The news program Dateline NBC features the recurring segment "To Catch a Predator", based on documenting such activities.
An organization called Crisp Thinking has created a service intended to identify grooming and warn parents, allowing them to install software that studies chat room and other Instant messaging logs for activity they have determined may identify grooming or other potentially suspicious activities. It has also adapted its technology to social networking services and ISPs.
Another software company in the UK has developed a program that hold as competitor to Crisp, called Sentry Parental Controls. It was launched by television personality Coleen Nolan and is supported by Mark Williams-Thomas, a leading expert in child protection.
References[change | edit source]
- Crosson-Tower, Cynthia 2005. Understanding child abuse and neglect. Allyn & Bacon. ISBN 020540183X.
- Levesque, Roger J.R. 1999. Sexual abuse of children: a human rights perspective. Indiana University. ISBN 0253334713
- The Daily Telegraph (London). http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/crime/7567922/Complaints-about-grooming-and-bullying-on-Facebook-quadruple.html.
- Crisp Thinking The 'anti-child grooming' website
- Clipstar uses Anti-Grooming Engine to identify dangerous conversations
- Crisp - Home
- Sentry Parental Controls Web Site