online grooming

What is grooming?
Grooming is when someone builds an online relationship with a child or young person and tricks them or forces them to do something sexual.

It's easy for people to create fake accounts and lie about who they really are online. If you notice anything suspicious about someone you have spoken to online you should report this straight away to your mum or dad, brother, sister or another trusted adult such as your teacher.

You should never agree to meet someone you have met online unless you have talked about it with your parent/carer or another trusted adult like your treacher.



Often a 'groomer' is older, but they could also be a young person. They could be male or female. A groomer may try to make people do things like:

  • send naked pictures of themselves
  • send sexual videos of themselves
  • do something sexual live on webcam
  • have sexual conversations online or by text
  • meet up with them

A groomer might say that they will post the images/videos (sexts) they have been sent online if they are not sent more images or they may demand sex with them or their friends.

Things to look out for when trying to spot a groomer.

Too good to be true? -  Do they share all of your interests and give you lots of attention? We all like attention, but remember abusers will do anything to make you feel special so they can exploit you.
Flattery? - Do they praise pictures on your profile, saying you’re pretty or sexy? Abusers will try to make you feel good about yourself as it’s harder to think critically if someone’s praising you.
Let’s talk about sex -They may try to get you to talk about sex. Most of us feel less shy online so talking about sex can be easier. You don’t have to do anything you’re not comfortable with.
Got any sexy pictures? - They might ask for sexy pictures and tell you that other young people send them, they may threaten to share them with your friends or family if you don’t do what they want later.
Can we go someone more private? - Did you meet in a public place like a game or chatroom? Have they asked to add you to a private chat forum? Private chat makes it easier to start a relationship and build trust with you. What's wrong with chatting in a more public place?
Our little secret? - Abusers don’t want other people to know they’re chatting to you because other people, family or friends, may be able to help if things go wrong.
My webcam’s broken - Some abusers pretend to be around your age and say their webcam is broken so you can’t see them.  It's also easy to record and fake a webcam feed, it may not really be them.
Mood swings - Abusers try to control people by flattering them and giving them lots of attention. If people don’t do what they want - they take that away or suddenly become very nasty.


Go to page Top




Contraception Advice
Pregnancy Advice
Termination Services
Chlamydia Testing
Support for
young people