Cyber-bullying and online grooming: helping to protect against the risks

Children are the most valuable part of every society, regardless of culture, religion and national origin. Given the rapidly increasing digitalisation of their lives, it seemed important to assess risks related to internet usage and, in particular, the risk of become a victim of online grooming and cyber bullying activities. Today’s kids are living in an environment that is radically different from that of their parents; virtual environments are increasingly prevalent in private and education environments. This development is detrimental to their physical activities, social skills and the behavioural model that prevailed in previous generations. ENISA has formed a Working Group consisting of international experts in various disciplines related to the area of children’s online protection. Interdisciplinary knowledge and relevant experience in the area were the criteria of their engagement. During the selection phase of the scenario to be assessed, the expert group has identified cyber bullying and online grooming as an area that requires further elaboration. With this assessment we aim to demonstrate how attacks based on misuse of data (i.e. data mining and profiling) can affect minors. Although the issue of children’s exposure to internet risks has been addressed in great depth by many organisations (also during the generation of this report), we have performed this risk assessment in order to point out emerging risks and issue non-technical recommendations for their mitigation. Thus, we believe that the findings of this assessment will help in triggering further activities at various levels of society, while contributing to the necessary awareness of the online protection of minors.

This report has been authored by Dr. Louis Marinos using contributions from participating experts:, - Alessandro Acquisti (observer), CMU, US, - Philip Anderson, Northumbria University, UK, - Scott Cadzow, Cadzow Communications Consulting Ltd., UK, - John Carr, UK, - Peter Dickman, Google, US, - Colin Gray, CLJ Solutions Ltd, UK, - Christopher Laing, Northumbria University, UK, - Vangelis Papakonstantinou, Athens, GR, - Aljosa Pasic, ATOS, ES, - Sascha Schubert, SAS, DE, - Dimitrios Vogiatzis, NCSR Demokritos, GR, - Piotr Wiench, Warsaw University, PL, Our experts contributed to the scenario and to the risk assessment.

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