Follow these steps to take action and report suspicious grooming behavior or child harms
This article discusses sensitive topics such as sexual harms that may not be suitable for children.
One of the scariest things that can happen in any Minecraft community is when children are harmed by groomers or online predators. This is a hard subject to discuss, and even harder to experience, but we made this step-by-step guide to support you through this difficult situation.
There is no comfortable way to approach this subject, but luckily there are groups out there who can help support Minecraft server staff when they need it most. Our team at GamerSafer is dedicated to combatting child exploitation as a member of the WePROTECT Global Alliance. We believe every child deserves to play, connect, learn, and grow in a safe digital world, and with you and many other global allies we want to make that happen.
The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC) is a US-based non-profit organization that is focused entirely on protecting the most vulnerable members of our communities: children. They provide many resources for children, parents, teachers, gamers, and individuals who have witnessed or experienced harm in gaming, online platforms, and even offline.
Although it is a US-based organization, the majority of reports submitted to NCMEC are for incidents that take place outside of the US. Regardless of your location, or the suspected location of the incident you’re reporting, you can submit a report to NCMEC. Investigators will route the report to the appropriate law enforcement entity.
Before we get into how to submit those reports, though:
For kids or parents of children who have experienced severe harms, YOU ARE NOT ALONE. There are people who will work passionately to support you through this difficult time.
If you or someone you know is in danger,
call 911 or your local law enforcement immediately
10 Steps to report Child Harms that took place on your server (or other servers)
Learning these steps is a crucial move towards protecting children on your Minecraft server. We applaud you for this! Share this with your staff, your friends, and even other server owners so that they can know what to do as well.
Let’s go through the actions you should take to get your report to the right people who can take further measures.
Always submit to NCMEC, even if you also report the incident to law enforcement
Since NCMEC has investigators and experts globally that specialize in the wide variety of harmful behaviors that can impact children, it is always a good idea to report to NCMEC even if you’ve already contacted law enforcement. If the child is in immediate danger, call 911 or your region’s law enforcement immediately, then follow-up with a NCMEC report as shown below. But if there is no immediate physical danger, you can still submit the NCMEC report even without contacting law enforcement, and NCMEC will escalate it to the appropriate authorities as needed.
Step 1. Recognize predatory behavior
You do not have to wait for a severe harm to occur before reporting a tip to NCMEC. If you notice suspicious activity like grooming, inappropriate conversations, or sharing real-life photos/personal contact information between an adult and a minor, you have support in reporting this to NCMEC so that they can follow-up.
Often times, groomers will want to move a child from public chat channels and into private networks like Discord DMs, Snapchat, or Skype where they can continue the relationship. At any time if you notice something suspicious, say something.
Step 2. Head to NCMEC’s CyberTip website
The first step is often the hardest, but once you’ve done it you’re ready to submit a report at https://report.cybertip.org/. The process will continue from there. This report can be completely anonymous if you’d like, and can be submitted no matter what your location or location of the child is.
Step 3. Select a report category
Based on the behaviors you’ve witnessed, select the category that best matches. This may be “Online Enticement of Children for Sexual Acts” for Minecraft servers, but if the behavior has moved onto Discord or other channels you may choose to select a different reporting category here.
Step 4. Select the location
Select the location of the incident (i.e. where you identified the incident, not the location of the victim or perpetrator). In your case, it will likely be “Online Gaming”
Step 5. Describe the incident
It’s important to use as much detail as you can, as it will help NCMEC to investigate and engage with the appropriate law enforcement entity. All of these fields are optional, but keep in mind that the people who see this report may not know as much about Minecraft or your community as you. Be as detailed as possible and even define terms if you believe they might be unfamiliar to the investigators.
Step 6. Do you know the people involved?
Do you have any information on the person(s) the incident is about? If yes, select “Yes” and proceed to Step 7. If not, select no, and continue to Step 8.
Step 7. Provide information about the people involved
These additional form fields populate if you select “Yes” to the question in Step 6. If you have this information, sharing it can help NCMEC investigate and forward to law enforcement more quickly. You can also add other perpetrators or child victims to this if more than one person was involved.
Step 8. Optional: Share your contact information
Fill in your contact information, if you would like to. These fields are not required, so it is possible to submit a report while remaining anonymous if you so choose. If you fill them out, they might be used to contact you for additional or clarifying information to help the investigation. You can also opt out from being contacted at all.
Step 9. Add other comments
Anything else you’d like to share can be entered into the following field. You can put whatever you want in here. What made you submit the report, context related to your game/server, explanation of jargon (specialty words used in gaming/your game), etc. This is not a required field and it can be bypassed if you have nothing else to add.
If you use the GamerSafer reporting tool on your server and have submitted the report to us using an in-game plugin command, you can also include that information here and then contact us so that we can support.
Step 10. Reporting to law enforcement
Have you reported the incident to law enforcement already? If yes, enter as much info about where/to whom you reported. If no, select “No” and you’re ready to submit your CyberTip. Remember, you can submit a NCMEC report whether or not you send the incident to police, and they will share with the appropriate authorities as needed.
You’re all done!
Thank you for your diligence and taking the time to report suspicious and harmful behavior to NCMEC. You’ve taken a huge step towards helping keep children safe online! 👏
Taking action is the best way to impact the Minecraft community
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