How the Predator “Grooms” a Child via Computer

We know it happens; we hear about it in the news way too often. But what exactly does it mean that a sexual predator “groomed” a child over a period of months? How do they do that? What about the kid–were they just naive? Gullible? Stupid?? Can’t they tell when someone’s trying to pull one over on them? What are the child’s parents doing all this time? Aren’t they paying attention? Maybe they’re too busy. You want to protect your kids and need to know the scoop. So, let’s get real here, okay? Okay, this is real:

Sara, now 17, opened up an account on a popular social networking site when she was 12. All the kids in middle school had one, but even so, her mom was taking no chances. She made sure Sara used the computer in the family room, rather than have a laptop in her bedroom. She installed filtering systems and used the parental controls to block access to “unsavory” websites. She employed a tracking program so she would know every step Sara took online. And she warned Sara not to trust anyone she didn’t know personally, because there were dangerous people on the internet who preyed on the innocent. She did everything right to protect her child.

Sara recalls, “For the first few months, I only talked to my friends online because Mom had asked me to stay safe,’ she says. ‘But then, I accepted the request from a guy I didn’t know to become his ‘friend’ online because I could see we had mutual friends on the website.” (What she didn’t realize was that none of her friends knew him either. They just “friended” him because he asked.)

She continues: “They hadn’t mentioned anything bad about him, so I thought it would be all right to talk to him, and we started chatting online every evening. Whenever I was on the internet he would be there, asking about my day and what I’d done at school.”

Right there. That’s how it happened. Sexual predators are some of the sneakiest, cleverest, most manipulative criminals out there. And this one smoothly convinced a 12-year-old girl to let him into her home and into her life. Sara explains, “I really believed that he was my friend and that I could trust him – he made me feel so secure.”

After a few months of benignly chatting about school, he began to ask her more personal questions–sexual questions. Then, questions turned to requests for her to perform sex acts in front of her webcam technology. She says,”He started pressuring me. I was so naive that I felt I had to do these things for him because he’d been such a support to me. I didn’t want to, but whenever I said no, he’d say: ‘Nobody has to know.'”

When Sara realized that something wasn’t right about her “friend,” she attempted to escape the relationship. “I tried to avoid talking to him but… he followed me to other websites. Whenever I set up a profile on a different social network, he’d find me there. He was really persistent.” Worse, now that she’d angered him, she feared for her own safety. In their early days of getting to know one another, she’d told him where she lived–in spite of her mother’s warnings not to reveal any personal information on the internet. She worried that he would find her and harm her.

Sara’s mother watched as her child deteriorated. She couldn’t sleep and refused to eat; she became irritable and withdrawn.  Finally, in despair, she revealed to her mom what had been happening, and they immediately went to the police. The predator was arrested, tried, and imprisoned. But Sara still suffers the consequences of his actions. Due to falling victim to a sexual abuser, she has a strong distrust of strangers, she is unable to make eye contact when speaking, and most of all, experiences a pervasive fear and sense of loss of control. And this is a girl whose mom did everything right.

So what can you do? Ban your kids from using a computer? That’s going to be tough, since schools have students doing internet research for homework as early as 1st grade, and even preschools are bringing computers into their classrooms for 3-year-olds to become familiar with. Just keep checking in with your kids, standing over their shoulder when they’re at the keyboard (they love that!) and asking, “Who’s that? How do you know him/her?” Find out who they’re talking to. Go over everyone on their “friends” list; if there’s someone who you think doesn’t belong there, delete them–and check to make sure they don’t come back. If someone is communicating with your child and you think they shouldn’t be, or that the communication is inappropriate, don’t take chances with your child’s well-being. Contact the police. Nothing matters more than keeping your child safe from some of the sneakiest, cleverest, most manipulative criminals out there.



For more on this story:




Tags: , ,

7 Responses to “How the Predator “Grooms” a Child via Computer”

  1. JD Benish says:

    A book for at risk parents exists. It’s title is “Protectus Prol” and was written by a retired detective. It’s a hand book of sorts and educates single parents about how predators seduce the parents so that they can get access to the children. You should purchase this book and become an informed parent. Get it at

  2. Peter says:

    Thanks for sharing this story. This is a horrible experience for Sarah but at least it didn’t end up like being raped or kidnapped by this person.

  3. Hindi sms says:

    Thanks for the post mate.

  4. Really informative blog post.Much thanks again. Keep writing.

  5. Zonia Czar says:

    Good to see you back. And again with an interesting post.

  6. This is a very good web site. I’ve already subscribed in your RSS feed in Firefox and will be your typical reader. Thank you for your time.

Leave a Reply