Wunderman Thompson Benelux and Child Focus outplay online groomers
Antwerp, Belgium - 1 February 2023
Playgrounds don’t only exist physically anymore. Children are playing together virtually more often, and adults with bad intentions are finding their way into this world as well. To counter this, Wunderman Thompson Benelux created the 'OK Groomer' game for Child Focus. A virtual playground in which children playfully learn how to outsmart online groomers – adults who approach children for sexual contact.
A whole world against grooming
Grooming rates have skyrocketed during the lockdowns. And reports of grooming have continued to rise at Child Focus, the Belgian Center for Missing and Sexually Exploited Children. That’s why they decided to tackle the problem where it occurs, in online games, and more specifically in the hyper-popular Roblox: a virtual universe in the metaverse where children can play and create games for free.
Groomers found their way onto this platform as well. So, to help the fight against them, we launched Ok Groomer. An educational Roblox world in which young gamers learn to fight online grooming through a series of mini-games. Groomer tactics pop into these games like the bad guys in games. When kids learn to outwit and defeat them, they earn coins that they exchange for groomer repelling skins: the ultimate proof meant to keep the online predators away.
To remain relevant in the future, new mini-games are added sporadically. In this way, ‘OK Groomer’ will always remain topical as a tool in the fight against online groomers.
What is an online groomer?
A groomer is an adult who approaches and manipulates young people online. First, they try to gain the young person’s trust. They then abuse this trust to pursue the young person into sending nude photos or even having sexual contact. Online groomers often make the initial contact via games, and then continue on social media. The adults around that young person often know nothing about it.
A campaign for all ages
“By playing OK Groomer, children will learn to identify, block and report suspicious profiles online. A valuable lesson in games as well as on social media. That’s why OK Groomer will soon be part of the curriculum in several schools”, says Kasper Janssens, creative director at Wunderman Thompson Benelux.
Besides children, it is also important to sensitise parents. Therefore, a broader-targeted OK Groomer campaign is also rolled out on social media aimed at young parents. They will get all the info on the problem of online grooming and practical tips to keep an eye on it.
- Client: Child Focus
- Contact: Stephan Smets, Stéphanie Leyn
- Agency: Wunderman Thompson Benelux
- Chief Creative Officer: Sandra Bold
- Executive Creative Director: Kristof Snels
- Creative Directors: Kasper Janssens, Arjen Tarras
- Creatives: Cedric Trefois, Tijs Dejonckheere
- Account Managers: Diede Michiels, Barbara Van Duffel
- Strategy: Alexander Kolenberg
- Design: KingComa, Jeffrey Uten, Jorg Meyer, Cedric Trefois
- Copywriters: Jelle Raats, Tom De Block, Gavin Watt, Jerome Van Den Broeck
- Digital Project Manager: Hugo Groensmit
- Development: Bram Verdyck, Joran Schaeffer, Giele Cools, Sofie Gagelmans, Sam Serrien, Koen Speelmeijer
- Motion Design: Bert Beckers, Karel Van Gucht
- Production: Caroline Van Ranst
- Sound Design: Menno Van Riet