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 bad sides too. Most people have started to use the internet as a mean of 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.
There are many online “Predators”, lately they’ve been known to use a process called Grooming, 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, he/she probes into the emotional vulnerability of the victim. Grooming doesn’t restrict just to children or adults, a groomer can attack young adults, middle aged and even the elderly. Anyone, absolutely anyone can fall prey to grooming, the victim must
a. Have low self esteem
b. Be frustrated with their actual life
c. Must seek comfort in the virtual world.
Have you ever wondered, why your child, friend or anyone close has been lately closed off, 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 maybe a victim of grooming.
How grooming works: The predator will identify the victim, strike a conversation that is lighthearted at first. Observing every answer the target gives. This predator then starts to gain the trust of the victim and break their wall of defenses, gaining their trust and establishing a relation with the victim, a friendly one at the beginning. Then they mimic the problems of the victim, 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 victims entire trust, they begin to control the mind of the victim 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 with the victim to gain the victims trust. On gaining the victim’s trust, the victim will themselves spill their secrets to the groomer. The groomer then uses shared secrets to bind the relationship between the victim and himself. By degrees, the victim is lured into revealing information and giving into sexual favors, money property or part of illegal activities like peddling and so on. Eventually, the bond of secrecy is nearly always reinforced with threats, shaming and guilt to keep the victim silent about his or her shared crimes or misdeeds.
While it’s not necessary that every person you meet in the virtual world is a groomer, it’s always better to keep a background check on the other person before you agree for a real meet with them or sharing any kind of personal information. Remember, “Prevention is always better than cure”.