smart rules smart

T: TELL... why?

A thirteen-year-old girl met a ‘15 year-old’ boy in an Internet chatroom. Their online relationship developed and the girl arranged to meet the boy. Very wisely the girl had told her mother who decided to tag along to the rendezvous. Instead of a fifteen-year-old boy, awaiting the girl was a forty-seven-year-old man who had travelled nearly 400 kilometres to meet the girl. The man was arrested but was released later without charge.

Sometimes your parents may be able to help you, or advise you on what you need to do to find help or to help yourself - even if they don’t know much about technology, they could have the wisdom to know what to do. It can feel really upsetting to get something by email or on your phone which you didn't want, such as nasty emails or pornographic images and lots of times it can be through no fault of your own. Similarly it can be really creepy if you trusted someone you were chatting with, and then they turned nasty, even threatening. You may even feel that it was your fault, and that makes you not want to tell anyone, because you feel ashamed and embarrassed.

Sometimes abusers rely on people not telling anyone for this reason, and can even threaten to tell your parents themselves! This is all the more reason for you not to fall into that trap.

Everyone makes mistakes and so it is always best to talk to a friend, teacher, parent or carer if someone or something you see or receive online makes you feel uncomfortable. Make sure you look out for your friends and family and realize that we all - adults and young people alike - need to learn to use the Internet in a SMART way.

  • BBC News article - 'My lucky escape from paedophile'