Online Grooming is when someone pretends to be someone else in order to get close to a young person, whilst getting close to this young person they will manipulate them and gain personal information from them in order to see if they are a suitable target.
Many groomers are able to find a target easily online as many young people post personal information about themselves online (and don’t have privacy settings) which results in groomers becoming interested in them.
Usually, the group of people who suffer from grooming most commonly are 9-19 year older (millennials and children) this is because they are more vulnerable. 1/3 of 9-19 year olds have admitted to having received unwanted messages. However due to only 18% of children using chatrooms, millennials (under 18, between 13 and 15, as 82% of online sexual crimes are committed to minors) are the larger target audience. It is shown that 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 6 boys are involved in a form of online sexual crimes by the time they turn 18, meaning that the larger population of victims of grooming is females.
Not always will the victim admit to being groomed online, as they are usually unaware that they are being abused or they believe that this relationship which has been built is real.
However, in 2014 to 2015, there were 465 contacts to child line to do with grooming and over 80% of these contacts made were to do with online grooming (NSPCC, 2016).
Groomers tend to do what they do in order to exploit their target or to sexually abuse them. In chat rooms, their main targets generally tend to be you people who either seem vulnerable or have low self-esteem or users who seem to have posted sexually related content in the past.