We are right to be outraged at this man for targetting a 12 year old girl, and to say how wrong he was to lie about his age when he to arrange to meet her while she was on holiday with her family in the south of France. We do, however, have to wonder what she was doing chatting to a ’28 year old’ man on a social networking site in the first place.
The 41 year old man, apparently from Belgium, who had been ‘chatting’ to her for about four months, alledgedly abandoned her at the airport when he discovered she didn’t have her passport to board the flight he’d booked to Spain, well thank heavens for small mercies.
As the mother of a 12 year old daughter it makes my blood run cold that she had been able to arrange to meet up with a man she’d ‘met’ online without her families knowledge in the first place. I’d be horrified to find my 12 year old had been chatting to anyone over 16 years old let alone a 28 year old or 41 year old as it turned out.
I may be being overly cautious, but the pc in our home is in the lounge where anyone can pass at anytime and check what sites are up. She knows that she isn’t allowed to chat anywhere other than her schools networking site, which is daily monitored by the teaching staff, but most impotantly she understands why she isn’t allowed to. I do use a social networking site and she knows she can use mine, supervised, at anytime to stay in touch with family members.
We all need to look further at what we can do to educate these kids to be cybersafe, not just from online bullying and net-stalkers but from their own innocent trust in the reliability of the information they are given by people online.