While online social interactions with both known individuals and strangers can be enriching, offering different perspectives and experiences, unfortunately not everyone online behaves appropriately.
It is possible for individuals to be deceptive about their true identity. For example, adults can pretend to be young people and communicate with children online for sexual solicitation or grooming.
Sexual solicitation is where someone is asked to engage in a sexual conversation or activity or to send a sexually explicit image or information.
Online grooming of children is the illegal act of an adult or adults making online contact with a child under the age of 16 with the intention of facilitating a sexual relationship. More information is available from the AFP, which investigates suspected cases of online grooming.
Educating children and young people about the potential threats posed by others online will help them to protect themselves from unwanted online contact.
In a life-threatening and time-critical situation call Triple Zero (000).
Children, as well as adults acting on behalf of children, can report abuse or illegal activity online by using the AFP’s online child sex exploitation form or by clicking on the ‘Report Abuse’ button on the ThinkUKnow or Virtual Global Taskforce website.