My daughter had slowly started to change into a vibrant young lady. We had an unbreakable bond and often spoke about boys, sex and periods. I found the no bullshit approach a lot easier. At the age of 12 social networking sites were becoming very popular.
All her friends were on the sites and she asked if she could open a profile. I trusted her she knew not to talk to strangers so I didn’t see it being a problem. I set a few rules picture were to be appropriate, never give out personal details and only speak to people you know personally.
We sat together and made her a profile together we laughed as we added pictures of family holidays, baby photographs and many others. I also made a profile and added my daughter so I could monitor what was happening.
She enjoyed interacting with friends on her profile after school catching up with all the gossip, talking about boys general chit chat. My daughter told me that she kept getting requests of people she didn’t know and that she had ignored them. I was proud of my daughter she was very responsible.
A couple of weeks later I noticed a change in my daughters attitude I thought perhaps with her just turning 13 this was the dreaded teenage years. She seemed to be on her computer a lot I thought typical its taken my daughter she’s become a social networking addict.
My laptop had gone to the repair shop and I needed to send an email. I borrowed my daughters computer once she’d gone to sleep. What I saw on the screen will haunt me for the rest of my life.
She’d forgotten to log out of her social networking site. There in front of me of me were approx 30 messages that had been exchanged between my daughter and a boy named Alex*.
The messages had started out as most would hello, how are you, good day at school ?
It was when an image caught my eye Alex’s* profile picture was a man not a boy.
I decided to read through all the messages that had been swapped between them. My daughter was a 13 year old girl why would a grown man message my daughter.
Reading through the messages I felt bile build up in my throat. Alex* had being sending messages to my young vulnerable innocent daughter asking her to expose her self over web cam.
He described in detail what he would like to do sexually to my 13 year old. He knew she was underage. My head started to thump I felt my heart pumping. Why hadn’t she told me why was this man prying on her. He had asked her to meet him in town the following Saturday.
I had no idea what to do, no idea how to react. I copied all messages sending them to my email. I knew I needed to contact the police, I returned the computer as I found it in my daughters room.
The next morning I sent my daughter to school as usual and waited at home for the police. I explained what I had seen on the computer and the police took a statement, they also took away the laptop for evidence.
That evening a wonderful police woman came to speak with my daughter she simply explained that Alex* wasn’t who he claimed to be and that he was indeed a well known paedophile who happened to be on bail. They needed my daughters help, they needed to get this scum removed from society.
My daughter would be used as bait she needed to carry on talking to Alex*.
She arranged to meet Alex* in town that weekend fear set in, panic I was terrified he would attempt to abduct my daughter even though I knew police would be on hand.
Saturday arrived she did her hair and the police attached a wire under her clothes they needed evidence, this would help in court. My daughter arrived at the arranged meeting place 5 minutes early. I wasn’t allowed to attend the set up. I sat in a cafe in town my stomach turning. The police rang to say that Alex* had turned up. He was middle aged not the 15 year old boy he had claimed to be. Which obviously we already knew.
I sat and waited and waited and waited. My daughter was being put into a vulnerable situation and I wasn’t there to protect her. After what felt like an eternity the police called to say Alex* had been arrested.
My daughter didn’t need to attend court as they had enough evidence. Alex* had been prying on several young girls. I have nightmares thinking about what could have happened.
I ask that if you have children on social networking sites you check who they are talking too.