It’s a well-known fact that pedophiles are everywhere. They intentionally seek out children to victimize and then gain enough trust from them in order to sexually abuse them. But how? Where do they learn these tactics?
Grooming manuals play a big role. They’re being created and shared online by pedophiles in order to teach other pedophiles how to groom and sexually abuse children. As disturbing as that fact is, what’s even more alarming is that grooming manuals are perfectly legal.
What’s a Grooming Manual?
A grooming manual is an instructional manual created and shared online by pedophiles in order to learn how to groom and sexually abuse children. Some of the content found in these manuals covers topics such as how to select a victim and how to make love for the first time. I find it extremely unsettling that these manuals are using words like “make love” when they’re very clearly giving instructions on how to rape an innocent child. What they’re doing is sexually abusing a child, and it’s most definitely a horrendous crime.
But that’s the thing. In the sick, twisted mind of a pedophile, they’re not doing anything wrong. In their mind, they have convinced themselves that their behavior is acceptable and that children even enjoy it. (It’s sick! I know!) These grooming manuals are normalizing a pedophile’s interest in sexually exploiting children and even reinforcing that their behavior is acceptable.
How Can Grooming Manuals Be Legal?
Every single day, the Child Rescue Coalition monitors between 30 to 50 million records of child sexual abuse and reports its findings to law enforcement. It recently uncovered 12 grooming manuals that have been shared among pedophiles about 100,000 times.
12 grooming manuals have been shared online among pedophiles about 100,000 times.
According to the Child Rescue Coalition, though, these grooming manuals are perfectly legal. The legal definition of Child Sexual Abuse Material (CSAM) is “photos or videos that depict a child being sexually abused.” Since documents like grooming manuals are written, it’s legal for pedophiles to be in possession of them and to distribute them as well.
Who Are These Pedophiles?
Unfortunately, pedophiles are everywhere and they can be closer to your family than you realize. According to Glen Pounder, the COO of Child Rescue Coalition, “[t]he majority of child sexual abusers are already in your circle of trust.” Not only are predators learning how to groom children, but they’re also learning how to groom parents into gaining their trust and allowing them to be alone with their children. These pedophiles are the lowest of the low con artists, and they will do whatever it takes, for as long as it takes, to get what they want from their victims.
Online Predators Are Increasing
Although online predators have always been a threat, there are even more now because of sheltering in place due to COVID-19. According to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC), the number of suspected child abuse cases reported in the U.S. more than doubled to over two million in just the first four weeks of lockdown.
Child abuse cases in the U.S. rose to over two million in just the first four weeks of lockdown.
More children have been staying indoors and using their screens a lot more — and pedophiles are taking advantage of this. According to Andy Burros, head of child safety online policy for the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children, it’s the “perfect storm,” because “children will be feeling more anxious, vulnerable, or sad.” Many parents are busy working, so children are left to entertain themselves, and let’s face it— most end up on a screen.
How Parents Can Protect Their Children
Many parents feel that if their children are in their home, then they’re safe, yet activists compare leaving a child alone with a screen to leaving a child alone at night on a street corner. To keep children safe from online predators, the Child Rescue Coalition has a great list of recommendations. First of all, parents need to talk with their children about internet safety and online predators. Children should never be allowed to be alone in their room with a screen, and that includes playing video games since predators are able to connect with children that way.
“It is 100% your right to monitor your child’s devices.”
Monitor your child’s devices by looking at their search history, reading their text messages, and monitoring what they’re posting. Some might say this is an invasion of privacy, especially if the child is an older teenager, but as Bill Wiltse, the President of Child Rescue Coalition, puts it, “Does your child’s perceived right to privacy supersede their safety? It is 100% your right to monitor your child’s devices.”
To help with monitoring, you can use an app like Bark, and if you would like to actually block content, apps, and websites entirely, you can use an app like Net Nanny.
Even though grooming manuals are considered legal since they don’t meet the criteria for Child Sexual Abuse Material, they most definitely will lead to the sexual abuse or rape of a child. The intentions of the pedophiles who create, distribute, and view grooming manuals are quite clear, and it’s absolutely absurd and appalling that what they’re doing is considered perfectly legal.