Stop TIME Online An anti-online grooming activity pack

Cover of Stop TIME Online activity packNSPCC Cymru/Wales and Swansea University have launched an anti-online grooming activity pack. Since 2014, researchers at Swansea University have been exploring how groomers communicate with children and young people online.

The project aims to make key aspects of this research accessible to professionals working with children and young people. The activity pack explains the research findings in a clear, engaging way and helps keep children and young people safe online.

Authors: NSPCC Cymru/Wales and Swansea University
Published: 2017

The activity pack

We’ve worked with young people and professionals across social services, NSPCC social workers, Childline supervisors, police, youth services and probation to develop an activity pack. 

Our Stop TIME Online activity pack gives professionals and young people a better understanding of the strategies online groomers use to build trusting relationships with young people. The materials can be used during 1-to-1 or small group work sessions with children and young people aged 8 to 18 who are at risk of online grooming. 

Stop TIME Online materials help practitioners and young people remember how online groomers use language to get young people to do what they want: 

  • Trust: groomers develop ‘dodgy trust’ with you.
  • Isolate: groomers make you feel separate (both physically and mentally) from people in your life.
  • Measure: groomers say things to test how strong their control over you is.
  • Enjoy: groomers get pleasure from talking about sexual and romantic things and asking to swap nude selfies/photos. 

The activity pack's Take a SECOND: Take Control activities focus on the Trust element of the model and are used to explain the strategies groomers use to build trust with young people. 

This activity pack is the first in a series of multi-media materials to support professionals.

The research

The activity pack is underpinned by research from a multidisciplinary anti-online grooming project, investigating the processes involved in grooming children online (Lorenzo-Dus, Izura and Perez-Tattam, 2016; Lorenzo-Dus and Izura, 2017).

The research analysed language used by online groomers who have been convicted as a result of entrapment operations in the United States. These entrapment operations resulted from a collaboration between the non-profit foundation Perverted Justice and law enforcement in the United States.

The researchers developed a new 3 stage model to describe the communicative processes involved in online grooming:

  1. Online access: groomers make initial online contact.

  2. Entrapment: a complex phase involving a series of overlapping processes and strategies. The aim is to lure children and young people into different types of sexual behaviour, such as soliciting and sharing indecent images of children and groomers.

    The 4 processes are:

    • deceptive trust development: groomers give compliments, engage in small talk and exchange personal information with the child about hobbies and relationships. The aim is to build a positive and trusting relationship
    • isolation: groomers establish and develop secrecy in the relationship with the child by creating physical and emotional separation from other people
    • compliance testing: through withdrawal, role reversal and reverse psychology online, groomers gauge the extent to which a child may agree to engage in sexual activities
    • sexual gratification: groomers use sexually explicit or implicit language and reframing strategies (for example, telling the child that sexual activity with them would be beneficial) to desensitise the child and prepare them to agree to participate in both online and offline sexual activity.
  3. Offline access: groomers use verbal lead-ins to request meeting the child offline for sexual purposes.

Next steps

From October 2017, the activity pack will be piloted across 5 NSPCC sites in Wales and North West England. Following the pilot, we hope to roll it out across the NSPCC and possibly further afield.

If you're like more information about our activity pack, get in touch.

Email publicaffairs.cymru@nspcc.org.uk

Related information and resources

Grooming

Children and young people can be groomed online or in the real world, by a stranger or by someone they know - for example a family member, friend or professional. 
Read more about grooming.

Net Aware report 2017: "Freedom to express myself safely"

Findings from a survey with young people about their online experiences.
Find out more

Online child sexual abuse images

An overview of current research into child sexual abuse images and approaches to tackling the issue.
Find out more

Support for professionals

CASPAR

Our Current Awareness Service for Practice, Policy And Research delivers free weekly email alerts to keep you up-to-date with all the latest safeguarding and child protection news.

Sign up to CASPAR

Information Service

Our free service for people who work with children can help you find the latest policy, practice, research and news on child protection and related subjects.

For more information, call us or email help@nspcc.org.uk.

0808 800 5000

Submit an enquiry

Follow @NSPCCpro

Follow us on Twitter and keep up-to-date with all the latest news in child protection.

Follow @NSPCCpro on Twitter

Library catalogue

We hold the UK's largest collection of child protection resources and the only UK database specialising in published material on child protection, child abuse and child neglect.

Search the library

New in the Library

A free weekly email listing all of the new child protection publications added to our library collection.

Sign up to New in the Library

Helping you keep children safe

Read our guide for professionals on what we do and the ways we can work with you to protect children and prevent abuse and neglect.

Read our guide (PDF)

Impact and evidence

Find out how we evaluate and research the impact we’re making in protecting children, get tips and tools for researchers and access resources.

Our impact and evidence

Get expert training and consultancy

Grow your child protection knowledge and skills with CPD certified courses delivered by our experts nationwide and online.
Get expert training

Sharing knowledge to keep children safe

Read our guide to the NSPCC Knowledge and Information Service to find out how we can help you with child protection queries, support your research, and help you learn and develop.

Read our guide (PDF)

References

  1. Lorenzo-Dus, N. and Izura, C., 2017. “Cause ur special”: understanding trust and complimenting behaviour in online grooming discourse. Journal of Pragmatics 112: 68-82.

  2. Lorenzo-Dus, N., Izura, C. and Perez-Tattam, R., 2016. Understanding grooming discourse in computer-mediated environments. Discourse, Context and Media, 12: 440-450.