Credit: Ministry of National Education, Childhood and Youth

The Luxembourg Ministry of National Education, Childhood and Youth has launched a campaign to protect children from grooming.

Children are active on the internet from an increasingly young age, most often via a smartphone or digital tablet. The web offers them many opportunities to access information, but it also exposes them to certain dangers.

One such danger is grooming, that is when an adult contacts a child, often online and under a false identity, for the purpose of sexual abuse or money extorsion. The contact can be established over an extended period, in order to create a relationship of trust and facilitate the transition to the act of exploitation. The latter can take different forms: meetings "in real life" for the purpose of sexual abuse; solicitation to send sexually explicit photos; blackmail from such explicit photos to get money or more material for sexual abuse.

The Ministry of National Education, Childhood and Youth has thus launched a campaign devoted to this phenomenon. The campaign features a poster, which is being widely distributed, aimed at raising awareness of this potential threat. It links to the website, where links can be found for advice for parents (and educational professionals) who want to supervise and prepare their children so that they can surf the web safely. The links also provide information on the operation of the most popular applications, as well as on national institutions and organisations for help and support in case of questions or emergencies.

The poster will be distributed in schools, youth centres, child and family services, police stations, social offices, municipal administrations and hospitals. The awareness campaign will also extend to Facebook.