Creating a Safe Environment Newsletter | Summer 2016

“Grooming” behavior puts children at risk

Julie was just 13 when she started talking online to Tom. She may have met him first at her church, but their relationship grew through emails and texts. “He didn’t act or even sound like a 56-year-old man on the computer,” Julie says. She knew it was wrong to spend so much time—between three and six hours ever day—texting a man she didn’t know. “But I did it out of retaliation to my parents. It felt nice to have somebody who wasn’t always trying to tell you what to do.”-Julie says she would get very anxious when she wasn’t able to go online. She knew Tom would send her emails asking what she was doing, and she would feel guilty. And besides, she felt she had built a close relationship to him, and he became “very important to me.”