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Online Harms: Online Luring

Online luring is when a person (typically an adult but not always) communicates with youth through technology, like texting or chatting through an app/game/website, to make it easier to commit a specific sexual offence against them.

An example of a communication that may be reported as luring is if the person asks, hints at, or tries to convince the child/youth to create or send naked or semi‑naked sexual pictures or videos.

Adults looking to exploit youth use a number of tactics to groom teens online, such as sending sexually explicit material, misrepresenting who they are (e.g., saying they’re also a teen), or attempting to establish a romantic relationship. This coercion is used in hopes the youth will either meet the offender in person or send sexually explicit material, which may be used to blackmail or extort the teen.

Talking to youth about online luring

  • Use a real-life example as your child is less likely to become defensive when a scenario is not about them personally. At the same time, it opens the door for your child to share a similar situation or concern about themselves or a peer.
  • Encourage open communication but be conscious of your tween/teen’s sensitivity to social judgment and societal and peer pressures, as they may be hesitant to share their personal experiences with you.
  • Explain there is no need or urgency to respond to messages of any kind. Teach them not to respond to messages that make them feel uncomfortable and to tell a safe adult about it.
  • Discuss how sharing personal information or situations online with the wrong person could leave someone open to manipulation and mistreatment.
  • Talk about how to get out of conversations and/or online relationships when they feel uncomfortable. Discuss direct messaging (e.g., “I don’t want to” followed by deleting or blocking the person) and indirect messaging such as making up excuses (e.g., “My mom checks my computer randomly and would ground me”).
  • Explain that adults should never attempt to become friends with or give sexual attention to teens. Explain this is boundary‑breaking behaviour and it demonstrates the adult is using poor judgment, making it unsafe to interact with them.
  • Discuss that it is illegal to threaten someone online or offline. Explain threats are often used in an attempt to control youth and get them to comply with unsafe demands. If someone threatens them, they should NOT respond and should tell a safe adult.