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  4. 2.15 Prospecting chatbots as a communication platform to tackle cyber grooming

2.15 Prospecting chatbots as a communication platform to tackle cyber grooming

Academic team: Dr Lara Piccolo, Dr Pinelopi Trollinou
Policing partners: Metropolitan Police service
Status: Complete


Chatbots, also known as digital assistants or conversational AI, are natural-language processing software empowered with intelligence to simulate a human-like conversation. Based on the input of the user, they generate responses for engaging users in a dialogue for providing information, executing tasks, or offering services. Recent advancements in Artificial Intelligence are rendering chatbots useful in a variety of contexts, however this technology is still evolving.

It is thought Chatbots could offer a way of tackling online cyber grooming by providing young people a way to ask for advice, report suspicious conversations, and to engage with educational content (e.g., from CEOP).

This project is investigating the viability of using chatbots as a communication channel for the police to tackle online grooming. It seeks to understand their potential and appropriateness to policing organisations and practices, whether potential users would adopt such a platform, and what socio-technical requirements need to be considered to build trust and ethical bot behaviour.


Title Outputs type Lead academic Year
Research results: Would children rely on a chatbot to get support when dealing with online abuse Blog Piccolo, L. 2020
Children's online safety: Prospecting chatbots for tackling online abuse Final report Piccolo, L. 2020


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