Every 30 seconds a child makes their first click online. Although the internet offers great opportunities to learn and connect with others, it also has a dark side, where children are vulnerable. It is estimated that at any one time approximately 750,000 individuals are looking to connect with children online for sexual purposes, including grooming for sex.
Online groomers use language to form a relationship with the children they prey on, to gain and then betray children’s trust, exploiting children’s wonderful sociability, kind-heartedness, and curiosity. Project DRAGON-S is working to keep children safe from this form of technology-assisted child abuse (DRAGON-S stands for Developing Resistance Against Grooming Online – Spot and Shield).
During 2021-2022 our research and development team will be developing state-of-the-art, ethically-responsible tools (Spotter and Shield) to help detect and prevent online grooming.
We are majority funded by the United Nations End Violence Fund, and the project is headquartered at Swansea University, in partnership with Toulon University. We work with academic and practitioner experts from around the world.
If you would like to find out more about our work, this website provides information about the team, links to publicly available research and updates on our project development.