Survey on cybergrooming: one quarter of all children and young people affected

It is not uncommon for children and young people to be contacted by adults on the Internet with sexual intentions. This is shown by a representative survey of children and young people commissioned by the Media Authority of North Rhine-Westphalia. The survey focused in particular on the phenomenon of cybergrooming, which describes adults contacting children and young people with sexual intentions. A total of more than 2,000 children and young people between the ages of 8 and 18 living in Germany were surveyed.

Almost a quarter of all children and young people (24%) have already been asked out by adults online. One in six children and young people (16%) say they have already been promised something in return for a video or photo by an adult online contact. One in seven children or young people (14 %) have been asked to undress in front of a webcam for an adult or to turn on the camera of their smartphone. Fifteen percent of the children and young people surveyed also say they have been sent naked pictures without being asked  - and these are just some of the scenarios described and queried in the survey.

Such experiences are described particularly frequently by children and young people who go to a secondary school or vocational school. The survey also shows that there are no significant differences between girls and boys. Both gender groups experience sexualized address by adults online in equal measure.

The channels on which sexualized address occurred were also queried. The respondents have already had this experience on Instagram in particular (31%), followed directly by WhatsApp (26%) and Snapchat (24%). When it comes to online games, 9 percent of respondents each say they have already been approached with sexual intentions on FIFA22 and Minecraft.

60 percent of the children and young people surveyed would like this topic to be dealt with more in the school context, and 45 percent would like it to be discussed with their parents. In each case, more than a third of respondents (35%) also express the wish to report suspected cybergrooming to the police or to have it investigated by an independent reporting center.

The survey was conducted via the online panel FACT family, a database with over 30,000 active accounts of children aged zero to eighteen and their parents.

All survey results are summarized here.

Further information