Potential crimes online! Things you need to know!
Online grooming is defined as deliberately undertaken actions online that aim to befriend, prepare or deceive a child or an adult for the purpose of sexual abuse or exploitation. Online grooming is often faster than offline grooming. Communication methods which make use of Internet technology are faster than communication methods in real-life. In addition, these online methods do not have real-life boundaries with regards of time and space. If two persons have internet access, they can talk day and night and at any location. This allows a perpetrator to develop a ‘special relationship’ with the targeted child or adult in less time. Another important factor is that children often feel freer to speak about certain topics online. Introducing a topic like sex is therefore much easier and the targeted victims are sooner desensitized. Online grooming is often more secretive and hidden compared to offline grooming. It often happens behind a computer or other internet facilitating device. It can thus happen that a parent has never seen his or her child together with its perpetrator. This differs from offline grooming where grooming often is directed at the child and significant adults, the community, etc
In Cambodia, based on incoming reports received by Internet Hotline Cambodia, the online groomers usually use social media applications such as Facebook, Line, What’s App, public chatroom such as Moew Chat and live-streaming apps such Bigo Live to groom their targeted victims. Many of the groomers are Cambodian but some of them are Pakistani, Serian, Indian, Turkish and other nationalities.
Sexting is the sending of sexually explicit materials through mobile devices. Often this is done through mobile phones. Some children see sexting as innocent and do not understand the risks that are involved. They do not fully understand that they lose control over a picture, video or text the moment they sent it out. It can be circulated easily. Once it has been sent, it will be impossible to gain control over the material again. No matter how much effort they put in deleting the photo or video at different places, it can always show up at another place.
Often materials are sent or exchanged between people who are close with each other. A girl might send naked photos to her boyfriend. The problem is that this girl can never be sure what her boyfriend will do with the materials during the relationship and when the relationship is over. Not only can her boyfriend distribute the materials on the Internet, he can also blackmail her with the materials. The best way to prevent yourself from being the victim of sexting is to never do naked selfie or send it out.
Sextortion refers to the broad category of sexual exploitation in which abuse of power is the means of coercion, as well as to the category of sexual exploitation in which threatened release of sexual images or information is the means of coercion.
Sextortion can have devastating effects on young victims from all walks of life, and it is easy to become a victim. Online perpetrators might gain your trust by pretending to be someone they are not.
They lurk in chat rooms and record young people who post or live-stream sexually explicit images and videos of themselves, or they may hack into your electronic devices using malware to gain access to your files and control your web camera and microphone without you knowing it. Victims are generally exploited for sexual favor or money.
As mentioned before, the Internet provides individuals with great opportunities, but can also be dangerous. There are simple rules everybody can apply to increase their safety while using the Internet:
1: Never share personal details with anyone over the internet. You do not know what will happen with the information. As with everything that you share through the Internet, you have to remember that you lose control over it.
2: Never meet people in real life whom you only know through the Internet. People can easily hide their real identity online. It is therefore impossible to trust someone you have only met through the Internet.
3: Set your privacy settings as high as possible. On all social media sites, you can set your own privacy settings. On most sites, the privacy settings are very low and you have to change that in order to stay safe.
4: Never add people on Facebook and other social media that you don’t know. You do not want these unknown individuals to have access to everything you post on social media.
5: Be careful posting photos or videos of yourself. Never post your personal information, such as a cell phone number, home number, home address, or your location on any social networking site or through mobile apps like Snapchat or Instagram. Keep in mind that after you have posted something on social media, you have lost all control over that info/material. Those who can access the info/material can do what they want with it. Think carefully before you post something.