Among the gifts that the little ones receive to celebrate Children’s Day are sometimes devices, such as smartphones, tablets or consoles, that allow them to connect to the Internet, so it is necessary for parents to pay special attention so that they are not victims of dangers such as grooming.
According to ESET Latin America, grooming refers to when an adult contacts a minor online to gain their trust and friendship with the aim of sexually abusing the victim.
Such abuse can range from engaging in a sexual conversation, asking you to send photos and videos, to engaging in sexual practices.
The cybersecurity company warned that these communications begin through social networks or any digital medium that allows interaction between two or more people. This is important if one considers that, according to data from the National Institute of Statistics and Geography (Inegi), of the 87 million internet users in the country around 21.3 million are children and adolescents between the ages of 6 and 17.
How to protect children from grooming?
- Talk openly with them.
- Get involved and accompany the use of digital platforms.
- Provide advice and tools to minors.
- Approach the platforms and educate with your example.
- Show your constant support.
Other risks that, according to Avast, minors and also adults can find on the internet:
- Harassment. It consists of a series of threatening behaviors, such as continuous offensive messages, online stalking or collective harassment of a group towards an individual.
- Sexual harassment. It can include sending messages with sexual content or threatening to publish compromising videos or photos of the victim.
- trolling. It is a chain of lies or teasing towards a person with the intention of provoking an emotional reaction in the victim.
- Outing/Doxing. Personal information about the victim is shared without their consent, such as their address or phone number or private messages with the intent to embarrass or humiliate.
- Fraping. It consists of breaking into someone’s social networks or creating a fake profile to impersonate the victim to humiliate or ruin their reputation with inappropriate posts.
- dissing. This is when the cyber bully spreads rumors or posts humiliating photos, videos or screenshots of their victims. Usually the stalker seeks to embarrass and ruin his victim’s reputation and friendships.
What to do if you are the victim of harassment, threats, humiliating or hateful messages or comments?
- Block the profile or account of the person who is harassing them.
- Have private profiles to avoid and eliminate cyberbullying.
- Do not send photos, videos or information to strangers.
- Stop interacting with that profile or account and reach out to parents if something makes them uncomfortable, seems strange, or just doesn’t feel safe.
- Know that social networks allow you to report inappropriate or offensive content so that it can be removed from the platform.
- Have strong, unique and secret passwords (except from parents).
- Consider using a virtual private network that can encrypt your internet connection, keeping you private when browsing.
One recommendation is that parents try to always be aware of what their children are doing and with whom they are communicating through the Internet.
You should also be alert to possible symptoms of grooming, such as changes in the minor’s behavior, including withdrawing from adults, lowering their school performance, having mood swings, using devices secretly, isolating themselves, unexplained physical injuries, among others. others.
Given this, Twitter and the Grooming Argentina organization created the first Grooming Guide in Latin America that has several tips to protect minors. For example, parents are recommended to maintain constant communication with the minor, teach them how to use the platforms and explain the risks that interacting with people they do not know can cause.
Additionally, minors must be taught not to share personal information, not to accept requests or messages from unknown persons and to take care of their privacy and intimacy.
Since the pandemic began, there has been a significant rise in hyperconnectivity and minors have also been more exposed to the digital world. From there arises the need to make visible what it is and how it occurs on the internet so that parents have more tools to combat grooming on digital platforms”assured Twitter’s Public Policy manager for Latin America, Danya Centeno.
For its part, Telefónica Movistar México and Fundación PAS work to highlight possible risks on the internet through Te Protejo México, an anonymous online reporting line on pages with inappropriate content such as child sexual abuse and exploitation material.
This is because it is essential that, between parents and society, a culture of denunciation and reporting on what happens on the Internet be promoted.
By: Aura Hernandez
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Take care of your children from Grooming and other online risks