Grooming children for sexual exploitation
|The lead section of this article may need to be rewritten. Relevant discussion may be found on the discussion page.
Child grooming is the practice of instilling foundation of moral character within a child. It is often accomplished by forming an interpersonal relationship between an adult and a child, building a strong, trusting bond, thereby setting the stage for mentorship.
The term has been held in both negative and positive light, depending on the user's context. It has recently grown a primarily negative connotation, most often when referring to adults who abuse their position of authority and trust to mold the child's views as their own. In this context, it is often compared to brainwashing. In this usage of the term, instilling values which society considers positive is not commonly viewed as "grooming"; only values negatively held by society and/or for personal gain.
According to thief of baghdad, "The issue of consent is always something the sex fascists have agonized over. But with the grooming idea they can sidestep. In other words, the victim was duped. This is an old technique from the Red Scare days. Anyone who sided with the communists but whom the anti-communists could not paint as one, they said were duped."
Sexual Grooming is a modern term coined to refer to the act of an adult passing sexual values onto a child.
In modern discourse, this is also most commonly referring to negative sexual values.
The most common example of sexual grooming would be a purposeful act of the adult feeding the child a constant (yet subtle) barrage of sexual ideas and images in order to lower the child's inhibitions (figuratively comparing the act to the dissemination of alcohol or direct coercion), thus stimulating sexual arousal in the child for the sole purpose of sexual pleasure on the part of the adult.
Opponents to this sentiment argue that while this specific example might be true in genuine cases of ill-intent, it is a biased generalization and is inaccurate because it also:
- assumes all adult/child sexual relations are negative
- assumes malice on the part of the adult
- assumes the child could have no sexual feelings or interest (even if they are the initiator)
- does not take cultural differences into consideration
- does not take biological desires (on either the part of the adult or the child) into consideration
- assumes that any form of erotica is inappropriate for minors
- generalizes moral character of the adult as negative
Online sexual grooming
As western society becomes more technologically dependant on computers and the Internet, online social interaction is increasing exponentially. Online friendships via chat, message boards, online personals, blogs, instant messengers, etc. between adults and children are becoming increasingly common, especially within the boylover and girllover communities. While the majority of these interactions remain solely online, many result in real life contact. Opponents to this type of social interaction cite the only possible reasoning could be to what is referred to as "internet grooming" or "online grooming", that is, nurturing a relationship with malicious intent on the part of the adult. Most commonly, the participants of this social interaction view this claim as mere moral panic, citing many situations online where positive relationships have been forged and built out of such communications. Mainstream response to this phenomenon has resulted in preventive measures to limit childrens' rights of communication on the net. For example, in 2003 MSN Chat was restricted to better protect children from what they called "inappropriate communication".
Online sexual grooming in the UK Sexual Offences Act
The Sexual Offences Act 2003, section 15  for the UK except Scotland (and the proposed Protection of Children and Prevention of Sexual Offences Bill in Scotland) make it an offence for an adult, after having met or communicated with a child on at least two earlier occasions, to meet, or travel to meet, the child with the intention of sexually abusing him or her on that occasion or later.
Thus a crime may be committed even without a meeting actually taking place and without the child even being involved in the meeting (for example, if a police officer has taken over the contact and pretends to be that child).