Parental guardianship and online sexual grooming of teenagers: A honeypot experiment

Eden Kamar*, David Maimon, David Weisburd, Dekel Shabat

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Although previous research has examined the association between the absence of guardianship and online sexual grooming victimization, no previous study has examined the impact of parental supervision on the progression of an online grooming event. To address this empirical gap, we designed three honeypot chat bots that simulated young female users on online chatrooms and deployed them on a list of 21 popular chatrooms commonly accessed by youth and online groomers from all around the world. The first chat bot was designed to convey an active guardianship style to a grooming suspect (treatment 1), the second chat bot was designed to convey a passive style of parental guardianship, and the third chat bot was designed to convey no guardianship (control group). The chat bots were deployed over a period of 2.5 months. Findings indicate that online unstructured socializing with peers in the absence of parental supervision increased online groomers’ likelihood to persist in an online sexual grooming event. In contrast, online groomers were less likely to continue their online grooming once believing their targets were communicating online in the presence of parental guardianship (both passive and active).

Original languageAmerican English
Article number107386
JournalComputers in Human Behavior
StatePublished - Dec 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 Elsevier Ltd


  • Honeypot. guardianship
  • Online sexual grooming
  • Situational crime prevention
  • Unstructured socializing


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