Leading Children’s Charity Barnardo’s say that they are working with over 1,000 children, as young as 10 years old, who have been groomed by both individuals and gangs in the UK. After hearing this, I interviewed depute head teacher Mr Martindale to ask his opinion.
The first thing he said about it was that ‘It is very important to raise awareness.’ When I asked him why he thinks that he replied: ‘It is important because lots of young people don’t see the dangers of talking to strangers online and sending texts, emails, or photos.’
He also made a point of saying that a post on Facebook or an embarrassing photo could stay there for years and that ‘A photo you post at 13 will still be there when you’re 70.’ Mr Martindale added that grooming is much more common since the dawn of Facebook, Myspace and other social networking sites.
The top things Mr Martindale would tell young children are:
- Anybody could be anybody.
- Don’t put revealing/ inappropriate pictures on the internet.
- Don’t meet strangers in person.
If you find yourself in any situations like those above, immediately tell an adult, such as a parent, a carer, or call the police on 01224 386000.
By Kieran M.McMullin