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Online Grooming Stages: Inside the mind of a predator

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What is online grooming? And what are the stages of online grooming?


Grooming online happens when someone (usually an adult) ‘befriends’ and succeeds in gaining a  child’s trust in order to take advantage of the child for sexual purposes. Grooming allows sexual predators to slowly overcome natural boundaries long before sexual abuse occurs.

When children connect and communicate on the internet with strangers, they put themselves at great risks indeed. Internet predators intentionally comb sites where children are sure to visit, they may search for their victims by interests, location, gender and so on. 


Predators are able to piece together clues from their seemingly innocent communications with children and find out where a child lives, who their parents are, their school, closest landmarks or store and what their family situation is like.

Online grooming can take place either over a very short period of time or over a long stretch of. Predators are master manipulators who dedicate time and intentional effort to their craft. Initially, an online sex predator’s communication will appear innocent, they will present a kind and helpful posture, and then it progresses into dangerous territory, directed by the predator.


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