What’s wrong with talking to strangers?

Making friends online is normal and talking to people online is a great way to connect. Unfortunately, some people might not really be who they say they are. They could be a groomer that’s trying to trick you so they can take advantage of you.

How do groomers get close to young people?

There are lots of different ways that groomers will try and get close to a young person. They can be very tricky and manipulative when doing this. 

They might: 

  • Pretend to be someone they aren’t by using a fake profile, fake name or fake photos. 
  • Pretend to like the same things as you so that they can get you to trust them.
  • Try and get something sexual from you by offering gifts or money for images, videos or a naked webcam chat.

Grooming is really serious and trying to get naked photos of underage people is illegal. Netsafe has more information and great advice to help keep you safe from groomers when you’re online: Netsafe - Grooming(external link)

I’ve been getting groomed - what should I do?

No matter what you’ve done, none of this is your fault and you don’t need to deal with it alone. If you feel comfortable doing it, you can talk to someone you trust.

If you want to know what options you have before you tell anyone, you can contact Netsafe(external link) or a helpline for free help and advice.

Netsafe help people who are dealing with this kind of thing all the time and you won’t get in any trouble. They’ll listen to what’s been going on, talk about the situation you’re going through, and talk to you about the different things that can be done to help.

You can free txt ‘Netsafe’ to 4282, free call on 0508 NETSAFE or email help@netsafe.org.nz

You should also report it to the appropriate organisation.

What is grooming?

Grooming is a when an adult tries to build a relationship with a young person so that they can sexually exploit them in some way. This doesn’t always have to be physical - sometimes they are trying to get nude or nearly nude images or videos of the young person or have a sexual conversation with them.  

You might be picturing someone that is a lot older, but sometimes the person doing the grooming is only a few years older than the young person. Even if the groomer is just a few years older - they are still taking advantage of a younger person. Grooming might sound like something out of movie, but a lot of young people go to Netsafe(external link) for help with online grooming.

Grooming is not just catfishing and its extremely serious. Groomers can try and befriend you online and trick you so they can take advantage of you. For more information check out The Eggplant | Episode 5: Unhappy Little Accidents:

The Eggplant | Episode 5: Unhappy Little Accidents