The constant technological advances expose children to different risks. Therefore, parents should accompany them, talk with them and warn them about possible dangers. But… What happens if these risks take place in an environment “unknown” to some adults, such as social networks and the Internet in general? So that you do not stay “outside” of the different and renewed problems that occur in the web world, we translate the main terms.
New concepts to include in our dictionary
- Cyberbullying: defines when a child is threatened, harassed, humiliated, embarrassed by another child or group from the Internet, interactive media, digital technologies and mobile phones. It is a deliberate act and involves recurrent and repetitive damage inflicted through different means.
- Grooming: are deliberate actions by an adult in order to establish ties of friendship with a child on the Internet, with the aim of obtaining sexual satisfaction through erotic or pornographic images of the child or even as a preparation for a sexual encounter, possibly through abuse against children.
- Sexting(contraction of sex and texting): it is the sending of erotic or pornographic contents by means of mobile phones. It began by referring to the sending of SMS of a sexual nature. The sending of videos of pornographic nature with the term “Sexting” should not be confused. It is a common practice among young people, and increasingly among teenagers.
When we talk about Cyberbullying or Sexting, these are behaviors of harassment between peers; many times both begin apparently harmlessly and can quickly degenerate into cruel processes of systematic harassment. In contrast, Grooming must involve an adult who harasses a child for sexual purposes, which, the dangers and consequences can become equally serious, but more traumatic.
What these problems share is that, when made from virtual spaces through interactive media or digital technologies, the scope is massive and the material can be disseminated easily and widely. Thus, the initial sender loses control over the dissemination of said contents.
In turn, this can lead to the affected child or youth feeling helpless and worn out in front of a phenomenon that they can no longer stop, thus becoming the victim of different types of harassment. The impact can be devastating and cause significant psychic and physical sequelae, strong states of anxiety, late insomnia, back pain and depressive states. The affected person may experience a decrease in their performance, in addition to psychological and emotional sequels, with a strongly hurt self-esteem.
It is usual that if a child is exposed to any of these problems, by similarity and similar characteristics, one of the other two can quickly develop. In particular, Sexting is indicated as an activity that can expose minors to Grooming and Cyberbullying, as a means of pressure and ridicule against the person being photographed.
In Grooming, Sexting or Cyberbullying, children can be subjected or threatened to disclose personal information or to behave inappropriately, often with the false belief that if they do this the harassment will stop. It is precisely this response that triggers a vicious circle between the harassed and harassed, which is only possible to stop if detected early and intervened quickly.
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