Ok Groomer, a game to equip minors with tools against online grooming

Playgrounds are no longer just physical playgrounds. Children also gather online to play. Individuals with bad intentions try to target children online through gaming platforms or social media – this phenomenon is called grooming. Child Focus launched the prevention game "Ok Groomer" to teach children aged 8-14 how to deal with grooming in a playful way.

Date 2023-09-13 Author Belgian Safer Internet Centre Section awareness Topic grooming, media literacy/education Audience children and young people, parents and carers, teachers, educators and professionals
OK Groomer written in capital letter and video game in the background

Child Focus enters the virtual world

For years, Child focus has been fighting against the sexual exploitation of children from many angles. One phenomenon that is constantly increasing is that of grooming, the process by which an adult approaches a minor with a sexual purpose, either to meet them or to obtain explicit material.

Child Focus notices that groomers find and approach their victims through the internet and social media such as TikTok, but also increasingly through gaming platforms. Most children are not aware of the manipulation techniques of these groomers, and the fact that they are active on gaming platforms as well.

A prevention game for children from 8 to 14 years old

Child Focus is increasingly committed to prevention and awareness, and launched "Ok Groomer," a 3D world in the form of a virtual playground. This world consists of four mini games that teach children the right response when approached by a groomer. This prevention game is available for free through the Roblox platform, which is popular among children aged 8 to 14. Nearly 40 million players around the world play Roblox an average of three hours a day. It allows children to build, explore and play.

Young players learn through play to be aware of the risk of encountering potential groomers and to recognise them. The approach techniques covered in the game are inspired by stories of victims that Child Focus has helped: "Are you home alone? Let's share our secrets? I know where you live...". Each game contains a useful and concrete prevention message for the young players, such as: "In the game, about the game", which means it is ok to chat with strangers in the game to exchange tips or strategies, but only talk about the game and also stay in the game's chat (and thus do not switch to other social media channels). Max is also incorporated into the game, a person of trust that a child can confide in for questions or problems.

Discover the game Ok Groomer and find more information about the game here.

Find out more about the work and initiatives of the Belgian Safer Internet Centre or find similar information for Safer Internet Centres throughout Europe.  

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