Profiles on social media, are you really sure who your children are talking to?
“ are you really sure you know who your children are talking to?” is a question we are posing to parents following the conviction of Gemma Watts at Winchester Crown Court on Jan 10th 2020 and just as importantly do your children know who they are talking to online?
Gemma Watts was convicted of 7 sexual assault and grooming charges targeting children from 13 to 16 years of age, Watts is 21 and posed as a 16-year-old boy on social media sites such as Snapchat and Instagram. Watts targeted girls by liking their profiles and deceived them into thinking she was actually a boy, she shared skateboarding videos to keep up the pretence and dressed as a boy when she went to meet her victims. Watts even met some of the victim’s parents and was able to dupe them as well! PC Nicola Benson, from Hampshire constabulary’s missing and exploited team, said: “The level of manipulation and deceit used by Watts to snare her victims in this case was truly shocking.” A link to the story is below:
This does question how we are “teaching” our children to be more aware of the dangers lurking in the digital world that they are so comfortable navigating. Lessons on digital safety are taught in school as part of the PSE curriculum, however, we are still seeing high numbers of children being exploited on-line by predators and indeed how many adults are victims of scams by other adults with fake profiles.
We need to think differently about how these perpetrators, scammers and thieves think. We need to question what we are seeing (and believing) that is posted online, we are not talking about fake news from the Russians about the US election, we are talking about deliberate deceit to ensnare children into horrific acts of abuse.
To help parents and professionals “think differently” the NWG have developed a suite of unique resources that pose different questions from a very different perspective. They can be deemed to be “controversial” in the style and format that we have used, however this has been a deliberate decision in order to provoke emotions and generate conversations. On Wednesday 22nd January we are releasing our suite targeting Gaming, we urge you to look at the narratives on the posters and think…”is this how perpetrators think” and how can we develop a counter narrative that we can use for our children and talk about openly in the home, lets not rely on schools teaching our children everything, schools are under pressure to deliver the curriculum as well as the new extended PSE curriculum. They need help, your help to consolidate what they have learnt in school and continue that learning in their own home environment.
To access the resources please click on the link below, as always the NWG would love to hear your views on the resources and also if you have used them with your own children or children you may be working with. Do contact us if you would like to discuss these resources further