Social networks have become the space for users to share emotions and be entertained. In this context, and with children at home in recent months, there has been a serious increase in grooming cases.

For Mercè Rovira , graduated in Psychology, psychopedagogue and psychoanalyst, “the danger in the networks is always but one does not have to educate in fear, but in responsibility and knowledge for oneself”. For Laura Sali Pérez , CEO of the White Rabbit agency , “networks are not dangerous in themselves, but they become the settings chosen by groomers.”

September, 2020 – Grooming, according to the definition of experts, “are criminal forms of harassment that involve an adult who comes into contact with a child or adolescent in order to gradually gain their trust and then involve them in a sexual activity ”. With the boom in consumption of social networks in recent months and children at home, there has been a serious increase in cases of this type of bullying.

Mercè Rovira , graduated in Psychology, psychopedagogue and psychoanalyst, explains: “The danger in the networks is always but we must not educate children in fear, but in responsibility and knowledge for oneself, and this also includes parents . “ And add: “Just as we insist that if an adult approaches a child and offers him a piece of candy, he must not take it, or he must not go with strangers, we must transmit the same thing in that other world, that of the Internet.”

Globally, more than one billion children were affected by the closure of schools, having to adapt to new uses and modes of digital education. In this way, there was a hyperconnectivity that leads, without any doubt, to being more vulnerable and closer to possible cases of grooming or cyber bullying.

For Laura Sali Pérez, CEO of the White Rabbit agency And a mother of two young children, parents’ worst nightmare is not being able to protect their children: “Nets are not dangerous in themselves, but they become the settings of choice for groomers.”

In recent years, large companies such as Movistar and government entities such as the National Police have developed communication and awareness campaigns to prevent grooming attacks. “Educational talks and campaigns in large media and social networks are the key so that both parents and children are aware that this exists and can become an even bigger problem , ” adds Sali Pérez.

Educate children and parents

According to experts, “social networks are neither good nor bad, they are tools”. In the case of YouTube and Tik Tok, the social networks of the moment, become potentially dangerous scenarios by not having control over the groomers.

“Educating a child is not difficult, it is laborious. And that is what must be retaken. You have to play, be with him, dedicate time and space to him and that is being lost. We have forgotten that the child needs to create, invent, fantasize. The Internet also allows them to develop these skills but it is necessary to accompany them ”, Mercè Rovira reaffirms.

Social networks have become, during the advance of the pandemic, the meeting point for children and adolescents: they have all the information they want, they interact with each other, study and have fun. But they are still at an age where their personality is under construction and can be interfered with by the misuse of the networks.

“Most countries still do not have concrete plans to deal with grooming and in some cases it is not even contemplated within the legislation itself,” says Laura Sali Pérez . “For this reason, it is important to raise awareness in society and help make prevention measures viral. It is necessary to explain to children and parents that it is necessary to think before clicking, not to trust strangers, not to share videos or compromised images, protect digital identity, use complicated passwords and, above all, report cyberbullying ”, he concludes.

Commercial Use vs Personal Use

Within this context, we must learn to differentiate the uses of social networks, since grooming mainly affects the personal accounts of minors. For companies and entrepreneurs, on the other hand, social networks are an important factor for recognition.

Nowadays, if we search for a company on Facebook or Instagram and it does not have a profile, we already begin to have suspicions about it . “The importance of social networks in companies grows the greater the use by users: it is one of the channels through which your customers can find you and you can interact and contact them quickly, effectively and easily” says Sali Pérez.

Social networks act as the sales channel of a company and represent the most direct way to reach the consumer and interact with it. “The key, then, is to understand that as companies and for personal branding we must use them daily, but as parents we must take care of our children of their use, accompany them, teach them and protect them” , concludes the CEO of White Rabbit.