Social Media and Online Gaming sites are recognised sites for cyber bullying, sexting and inappropriate behaviour. Another potential danger stemming from these sites is Grooming. Grooming is the action of a predator or stranger who attempts to befriend a child by establishing a connection and build a ‘friendship’. This process in aimed at lowering a child’s wariness of safety concerns with this person by building trust. This connection can be made through anything from gaming sites, social media, music or any interest to strike a common ground. Once trust has been gained, it is less likely that a child will think to raise awareness to adults about the online relationship. It is then the intention of the predator is to lure the child into meeting with them and causing harm.
Unfortunately in South Australia in 2006 we had our own example of the worst that can happen, at age 15 Carly Ryan fell victim to an online predator. Thanks to ten years of hard work, commitment and dedication of her mother Sonya Ryan, Carly’s Law was passed in Parliament in June 2017. This new legislation introduced by the Federal Government means that it is now illegal for people to lie about their age to minors online and Police have the right to intervene before a predator can act to harm a child.
Please take the time to read Carly’s story and make a donation if possible.