A woman shared a now-viral TikTok video and said there are manuals that are being circulated as a guide on how to prepare children.
Seara Adair posted the video, which has been viewed over 100,000 times, on her TikTok account @riadaaraes. She shared two additional videos which continued to discuss the matter.
“These grooming manuals are often very long, very detailed and cover a plethora of topics, including how to spot a vulnerable child, how to groom them, how to actually commit the abuse and then how to clean up afterwards,” she said. in the video.
Is it legal?
The Child Rescue Coalition, a nonprofit that develops technology to track and arrest child predators free of charge for law enforcement, said these grooming manuals are legal.
“The legal definition of child sexual abuse material (CSAM) is photos or videos that depict a child being sexually abused,” the organization noted. “The CSAM does not include the written word, so materials like grooming manuals are not illegal to possess or distribute.”
The coalition also said it has seen around a dozen manuals passed to child predators more than 100,000 times.
The Child Rescue Coalition has encouraged parents to exercise caution when their children are online.
“These manuals aren’t full of shame and low key, they’re full of nurturing attraction between an adult and a child,” Adair said. “It’s a place where pedophiles can help each other and give advice on how to get the satisfaction they seek in this situation.”
She went on to say that child predators thought abused children were “willing and understanding participants”, and that the textbooks convinced them more of the idea.
In her other videos, Adair went into more depth about the victim selection process and whether the victim would keep the abuse a secret from trusted adults.
Carly Yoost, CEO of Child Rescue Coalition, said Newsweek that they find most predators turn to file sharing networks to download illegal videos, pictures and manuals.
The organization’s technology starts tracking a predator after he uploads illegal content, and it will check if a manual has been uploaded as well.
Yoost said new manuals have been shared and predators exchange tips with each other.
“We see them evolving as technology changes,” she said. “There are ways to be more evasive. They also provide advice via manuals or discussion forums.”
Viewers of Adair’s video shared their shock in the comments section.
“This is absolutely awful,” wrote one commenter.
Another TikTok user who said he worked as a daycare teacher said it was helpful to see potentially dangerous signs to look for when working with children.
“No child should have to suffer like this,” they commented.
“It’s sickening but necessary to know this exists to protect our children,” wrote one viewer.
Many were surprised to learn that such manuals existed.
“I wish I had gone my whole life not knowing they existed and I don’t know why I just assumed they didn’t,” one commenter wrote.
Viewers weren’t the only ones unaware of the manuals – Yoost said she’s met many people who were shocked to learn about the manuals during awareness campaigns.
“Most people have no idea it exists, that it’s legal in most states to share it, and that predators go that far to teach other predators how to be better,” he said. she declared.
adair said Newsweek in an email she first learned about the manuals after coming across a social media post by the Child Rescue Coalition, which highlighted how single mothers were “good targets for access to children”.
She found additional research compiled by the United States Marshals Services Behavioral Analysis Unit on these manuals and felt that they contained information that would be important for parents.
“Knowledge is power”
She said she was not surprised to learn that these manuals existed.
“Like a [child sexual abuse] survivor myself and someone who has spent their time learning as much as possible about how predators think and work, I’m not surprised how far they go to prey on children,” said she declared.
Adair said parents may be less aware of how child predators are organized and have their own “communities.”
“I will say, though, that it amazes me how ‘legal’ they are,” she said. “The written word is still highly protected, even in the world of child exploitation.”
With three videos on the subject released so far, Adair said she continues to work on other videos to be included in the series.
“I think knowledge is power,” she said. “Both for kids and parents. I think the key to keeping our kids as safe as possible is both instilling in them the knowledge of what to watch out for on their own and wearing as many knowledge ourselves as parents.”
TikTok hosts many other videos that discuss parenting, including one in which a woman warns parents against creating social media accounts for their children.
A teacher has gone viral after asking parents to discipline their children, while another video shared by a mother showed a hack on how she protects her children while they are away.