Signs of Predatory Behavior
Predators take advantage of [your] natural vulnerabilities, such as the need for attention. “Grooming” is the process through which predators play on these vulnerabilities by offering gifts and attention.
It does not happen overnight. Grooming can be a long process that a patient, tenacious predator has planned and perfected to gain your trust. This grooming may lead you to meet the person with whom you are chatting. Offenders will try to encourage a face-to-face meeting by:
- Exploiting natural curiosity about sex
- Lowering your inhibitions by gradually introducing explicit images and child sex abuse images
- Using his or her adult status to influence and control your behavior
- Offering attention and affection
- Betraying your trust by manipulating your emotions and insecurities
David Finkelhor, Kimberly J. Mitchell, and Janis Wolak, Online Predators and their Victims: Myths, Realities, and Implications for Prevention and Treatment, American Psychologist 63 (2008): 116.