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  • Frequent conversations with children about what they’re playing and who they’re talking to online. Let children tell you about what they love about their games and online lives, and allow them to enjoy all that is good about apps, games and online. This will help make a conversation about the concerns of online grooming easier to have. ONE TALK IS NOT ENOUGH!
  • Be a SAFE PERSON for your child or young people in your life. Make sure they know they can come to you if something happens.
  • Reduce shame in conversations with children. If they have shared CSAM (Child Sexual Abuse Material) of themselves, they were manipulated in order to do so. Shame is a method traffickers use to further manipulate, so be supportive instead of blaming the child. Make sure you share frequently with your child that there’s nothing you can’t work out together!
  • Make sure you and your child know what to do if they find themselves in an uncomfortable, dangerous or exploitative situation. Look into organizations like NCMEC who can help.
  • Being a tech savvy “digital parent” who understands as much as possible about the online world. Review which location markers are visible on children’s devices, and remove any except the essential ones. Consider products to help monitor some of your children’s activity.
  • Spend “device-free” time with your family to boost everyone’s serotonin levels, and help children feel good without needing to get “likes” on social media.
  • Remind children FREQUENTLY to only interact online and on gaming apps with people they know and trust in the real world.

  • You want to feel independent – and probably feel you know more about the online world than older people – but you need to trust your instincts the moment something feels wrong, and it’s ok to ask for help.
  • Go to a SAFE person – someone you trust who can help you – whenever you feel uncomfortable or you’re being asked to do something you don’t want to do. You don’t have to hold onto secrets.
  • Don’t be afraid to be different or stand out – don’t feel you have to do things to fit in. Sometimes others feel like you but may be waiting for someone else to speak out first. Be brave and empowered.
  • Think with a critical eye about the things you see online. Things you see online are often unreal – how good are you at knowing the difference between the real and the unreal?
  • People can trick you and pretend to be your friends, especially when you’re feeling like you don’t have friends, but people tricking you are predators.

  • Listen! Be proactive when you hear something – don’t brush it aside, it could be a sign that one of your students is feeling scared about something.
  • Teachers – remain teachable – be open to learning what your students need, not just what you believe they need. Empower your students with the knowledge that they are also your teacher.
  • Be aware of what students write in their papers or in their journals which could be clues to something happening in a student’s life
  • Understand what it means to be an authentic SAFE PERSON – it’s not something all teachers need to be, but if you can take on that role it could help.
  • If you can be a SAFE PERSON - remind your students that you are – so that they can come to you when something feels wrong to them.
  • Create student discussion groups - helping to make students feel empowered rather than shamed by any experiences they’ve had.
  • Bring in different speakers on difficult topics who have had real life experiences – which makes this real for students and helps to reduce shame on difficult topics.
  • Be culturally sensitive to the students you are teaching so that speakers connect with the students.
  • Include law enforcement experts and others who can share solutions with students if they find themselves in an uncomfortable situation.
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If you see something that you think might mean a child is a victim of online exploitation, report it to the Cyber Tipline or call for help.

Know the terms of online exploitation.

Grooming is the act of someone building a relationship, trust, and emotional connection with a child or young person so they can manipulate, exploit and abuse them. Children and young people who are groomed can be sexually abused, exploited or trafficked. (Source: National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children)

Sextortion is an online exploitation crime directed towards children in which non-physical forms of coercion are used, such as blackmail, to acquire sexual content from the child, engage in sex with the child, or obtain money from the child. (Source: National Center for Missing and Exploited Children)

Child Sexual Abuse Material (CSAM) refers to any visual depiction of sexually explicit conduct involving a minor. (Source: National Center for Missing and Exploited Kids)

Online Safety Resources