While we hail the internet for being our savior in every project that we’ve submitted, let’s not forget that this internet has its wrong sides too; and grooming is one of them. Most people have started to use the internet to friendship with random strangers.
It’s always a good thing to make new friends and step out of your comfort zone. Not every person on the other side of the internet feels the same way.
Why is Grooming Hard to Identify?
Lately, many online “Predators” have been known to use a Grooming process to lure victims into their control without even letting the victim know. Grooming includes a lot of psychological tricks; while the groomer converses with the victim, they probe into the victim’s emotional vulnerability.
Grooming doesn’t restrict just to children or adults; a groomer can attack young adults, middle-aged and even the elderly.
1. Who Can Fall Prey to Grooming?
- Someone having low self-esteem
- Someone frustrated with their real-life
- Someone who seeks comfort in the virtual world
Have you ever wondered why your child, friend, or anyone close to you has been closed off lately, sits on the computer for long hours, changes tabs when you come and try to peek into the screen, or is on their phone or any other gadget for too long? The person concerned may be a victim of grooming.
2. How Does Grooming Work?
The predator will identify the victim and strike a conversation that is lighthearted at first. Observing every answer, the target gives. This predator then starts to gain the victim’s trust and break their wall of defenses, gaining their trust and establishing a relationship with the victim, a friendly one at the beginning.
Then they mimic the victim’s problems; for instance, if the victim complains of not being understood, the victim is always blamed for everything that goes wrong. The predator will sympathize and express their understanding of the situation and make the Victim feel “Special.”
Once the predator has gained the victim’s entire trust, they begin to control the victim’s mind by first isolating the victim from their own family and friends. And slowly, the groomer will tell the victim “Secrets” that the victim can tell no one about.
The victim is sworn into secrecy with the groomer; he will share his so-called secrets to gain the victim’s trust. On gaining the victim’s trust, the victim will spill their secrets to the groomer. The groomer then uses shared secrets to bind the relationship between the victim and himself.
To a degree, the victim is lured into revealing information and giving into sexual favors, money, property, or part of illegal activities like peddling. Eventually, the bond of secrecy is nearly always reinforced with threats, shaming, and guilt to keep the victim silent about their shared crimes or misdeeds.
While not every person you meet in the virtual world needs to be a groomer, it’s always better to keep a background check on the other person before you agree to an actual meeting with them or share any personal information. Remember, “Prevention is always better than cure.”