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Online Harms: Online Luring

Online luring is when a person (typically an adult but not always) communicates with youth through technology, like texting, direct messaging, or chatting in an app/game/website, to make it easier to commit a specific sexual offence against them.

An example of a communication that may be reported as luring is if the person asks, hints at, or tries to convince the child/youth to create or send naked or semi‑naked sexual pictures or videos.

Adults looking to exploit youth use a number of tactics to groom teens online, such as sending sexually explicit material, misrepresenting who they are (e.g., saying they're also a teen), or attempting to establish a romantic relationship. This coercion is used in hopes the youth will either meet the offender in person or send sexually explicit material, which may be used to blackmail or extort the teen.

Talking to youth about online luring

  • Explain what online luring is and how it happens.
  • Ask your youth why they think this is a criminal code offence in Canada. Listen to their perspective and discuss the importance of laws to keep youth safe online.
  • Teach them about red flag behaviors that signal a situation is unsafe.
  • Discuss how to get out of conversations and/or online relationships when they feel uncomfortable. Discuss direct messaging (e.g., “I don’t want to” followed by deleting or blocking the person) and indirect messaging, such as making up excuses (e.g., “My mom checks my computer randomly and would ground me”). 
  • Emphasize the importance of getting help – coming to you or another safe adult or reaching out to for help. Explain that if this has ever happened or does happen to them or someone they know, you want to know about and want to help them. This is too serious for youth to manage on their own; and the good thing is they’re never alone and it’s never too late to get help.
  • Share a real case and, together, identify the red flag behaviours/tactics and discuss what the youth should do. Download How to Talk with Teens about Online Luring for more information and a real case example.