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Perv Alert: Spot the signs of online sexual grooming

There are pervs among us who prey on young people to sexually abuse them.

As we tackle COVID-19, many young people’s worlds have shrunk to just their screens, leaving them vulnerable to online sexual grooming, exploitation, and bullying.

Sexual grooming is when someone builds an emotional connection with you to gain your trust so they can sexually abuse, exploit or scam you. Social media, chat apps, chatrooms, online gaming – all of these are the pervert’s popular hunting grounds since so many young people across the world are confined to their homes – feeling bored, fed up and lonely.

>>Read: Pemangsa Seks: Ketahuilah petandanya

So how does the groomer hunt their prey? Macam ni lah. Groomers will first say and do things to gain your trust. They will offer you “friendship” and understanding. Once you dah trust them, he or she will exploit the relationship by making you feel dependent on them. One trick they suka guna is to introduce ‘secrets’ as a way to control or frighten you. Sometimes they will blackmail you or make you feel ashamed or guilty, to stop you from telling anyone about the “abuse”.

The thing is this – young people can be groomed by a stranger or by someone they know. And what’s betul-betul scary is many children and young people don’t even realise they’ve been groomed, or that what has happened is abuse.

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Sexual grooming warning signs

So it’s like really important that you’re careful online. Always trust your instincts and know what to do if things go wrong. Here are some warning signs of sexual grooming:

1. Flattery

Are they always praising pictures on your profile, saying you’re pretty, fit or sexy? They will try to make you feel good about yourself or special. It’s harder to think critically if someone’s praising you so be especially careful. Sexual grooming could be taking place.

2. Got any sexy pictures?

They might ask for sexy pictures of you and tell you that other young people send them all the time. Don’t fall for the trap. DON’T SEND. You can lose control of your picture, and not know who is looking at your picture or where it may end up. And remember, if they’re asking you for nude or semi-nude pictures they’re breaking the law.

 

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3. Let’s talk about sex.

They will try to get you to talk about sex or show you porn. Most of us feel less shy online than in real life so talking about sex can be easier. Be cautious. You don’t have to say or do anything you’re not comfortable with. Remember – 🚨 sexual grooming alert 🚨!

4. Can we meet “privately”?

Did you meet in a game or a chatroom? Have they asked to add you on Instagram, Telegram, Whatsapp, WeChat or anything which allows private chat? Private chat makes it easier to start a relationship and build trust with you. Think before adding people to your networks.

5. Our little secret?

Groomers 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. They might ask you to keep your chat a secret or say you’ll be in trouble if others find out. If someone is making you do things you don’t want to do or not comfortable with, you should 💯 NOT keep it a secret. Tell an adult you trust immediately.

 

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6. Mood swings

People who abuse try to control young people by flattering them and giving lots of attention. If young people don’t do what they want – they take the “flattery” away or suddenly become very nasty. You don’t have to do anything you’re not comfortable with.

What should I do if I’m a victim of sexual grooming?  

The first thing you should do is tell an adult that you trust. They will be able to help you. Blocking or deleting the person from your contact list is another good thing to do, but make sure your parents or a trusted adult is aware of what has happened too. You should also report the crime to your local police straight away.

You can also report an online violation to CyberSecurity’s Cyber999
> Call office hours: 1-300-88-2999
> Emergency Line: +6019 266 5850
> Email to: cyber999@cybersecurity.my
> SMS to 15888: CYBER999 REPORT (email) (report).

Or you can call Malaysia’s national 24-hour hotline Talian Kasih at 15999 or Whatsapp 019 26 15999,to report abuse, bullying, neglect, etc.

Enjoy the internet and all its amazingness. And always remember to be safe. Not sorry.

>>Read: Safer Internet Together-gether

Adapted from Child Exploitation and Online Protection (CEOP)

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Bunny Wira

champion for children, hero in disguise. I love kangkung!
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