To be conflicted about this?(45 Posts)
I have 3 dds. The oldest two are 13 and 11.
Me and DH have just learned that a man (23) who lives on the corner of our street has been caught grooming young girls by pretending to be a 16 yr old and convincing them to send indecent images of themselves to him. He's been put on a community order for 36 months.
The man in question lives with his parents, who are really nice people. I just don't know how I am going to speak to them in future. I know they have committed no crime and are totally blameless but it is going to be so awkward.
My most pressing issue is I don't know what to say to my dds, how much do I tell them? We've had the 'don't talk to strangers' chat but what do you say when it isn't a stranger, it's someone they know? I know I need to say something, as I would never forgive myself if anything happened to them and I had stayed silent, but at the same time I don't want to scare them too much as they'll have to walk past this house every day.
Advice needed please wise mumsnetters
Why do you need to tell them anything about this man? Why not have a conversation about the dangers of the internet, grooming etc?
How did you come by this information on this man?
I would continue as you are with his parents, it must be horrible for them so being treated as normal will mean a lot to them.
I would advise your daughters of the normal personal safety rules. You don't need to say exactly who the man is if you think it will cause problems but just tell them that anyone can be anyone on the Internet and people living near you may be friendly but you don't really know them etc
has it been in the paper do your DDS know him, ? you could start by just telling them what happened and go from there the 13 yr old maybe knows already it might have gone round school so you could say did you here about X it is terrible isn't it and if HE approaches you, you MUST walk away, they need to be aware and if that scares them a little then that is fine ,
this happened with My neighbours soon he had underage girlfriends and he was charged with it, he didnt stay there though after he left prison my neighbour was lovely I just spoke to her as normal as did most people,
I bet his parents are mortified, by this, what a creep
Umm honestly? Just talk to them. Don't talk to " strangers" is pretty inadequate as a strategy especially on the internet. I think you will find they know more than you think about grooming. It's discussed at school to an extent. I bet this case is in the local press. That's a brilliant conversation starter.
They need to be safe on line - and at 11/13 for me that is restricted internet in a room with adults about, not in bedrooms. Others will disagree, but it's also no internet on phones ( or very little ) so no snap chat etc . If 13yr on Facebook/ photo sharing stuff then I need passwords and full access etc.
Also, and I don't really know how to word this, there is no reason to be especially wary of this chap. If they met him in sainsburys they can still say good morning, but no personal chat/ visiting his house etc . BUT this should be the same with other random adults they meet.
theas i think that is what I meant if he speaks to them they can say hello if they want but just keep walking, OP i know this guy is a complete creep it is horrible but he isnt going to snatch your DDS
easter it was in the local paper. His sentence, full name the road he lives in plus his full name. There's no doubt it's him. You're right about his parents, I wouldn't dream of saying anything nasty to them, just don't know what to say!
Nick we have already done all that, they have both got mobile phones as they walk home after school. I suppose I am just worried in case he ever decided to invite them in, the girls know we're friendly with his parents so I would worry they would think it was ok.
I wouldn't tell my daughters at all about this man. The op doesn't mention any contact that her children have apart from walking past his house and there is nothing to suggest her girls are in danger. Would be entirely different if they had to cease contact or anything like that.
Lulu, I understand your worries and he has been convicted of an nasty offence but it doesn't necessarily follow that he will be a physical threat to your children.
Your children are older and will have an awareness of personal safety. I would keep it general.
It's been in the local paper nickynacky, how can you not talk about it? It'll be the talk of school for the 13yr old at least!
It possibly won't be the talk of the school? Unless the victims were from that school but given it's internet grooming it's entirely possible they won't be.
If someone who lived in your street stole a bottle of vodka from tesco then it doesn't follow that the will run out of their house and rob you at knife pint as you walk past. Theft and robbery are on the same spectrum but it doesn't follow that someone will commit the far more serious offence.
If this person had been convicted of offences where I would be rightly wary of my children being in the vicinity of the house then of course I would warn them. But that's not the case here.
Sorry, it might be phone grooming, not necessarily internet, but my point remains the same.
I reckon something like this will be going round a secondary school like wildfire if the girls go there maybe not but i hear some horror stories of this from my dds this isnt uncommon these days, why shouldnt the op talk to her daughters about this man they might not be in any immediate danger as i said before he isn't going to snatch them off the street be they need to be wary of him especially as the op knows the family,
I agree that you nee to widen the net when it comes to people that children and teens should be wary of. Strangers are literally the least of their worries and they need to know how to behave appropriately amongst casual acquaintances, people that you may 'know' but don't consider friends and other familiar adults and children who may pose a threat. They shouldn't be thinking it's ok to go into ANYONE's house without checking with you first.
They don't go there, his victims were from around the country.
I think I am going to have to say something about him specifically, his victims were 12-15 so right in my dds age range. Nick I know it might not be likely to escalate to physical contact but if I know that a man who knows my daughters and his proclivity is to their age range I'm going to have to say something.
Mrs Jay you're right, I'd rather they were too scared than not enough.
coldlight thank you I'll look at that.
lulu just tell them the truth just tell them he pretended to be a boy so these girls would send them pictures of themselves tell them that you dont need to take it any further they will realise themselves they dont need to be walking into his house, I am sure your dds are old enough to understand
I know it is not a conversation you want to be having with an 11/13 year old girl but sadly needs must imo
Thanks mrsjay that's great advice, it's not a conversation I'm looking forward to but it will have to be done (away from 5yr old flapping ears!)
I agree with Nicknacky
Its quite likely that the only way this would be going around the school is if the pupils parents tell them about it.
If he had been convicted of following and assaulting young girls, then I might consider telling my teens to avoid him or something like that.
But I think a general internet safety chat, which I would assume you have done already? would be all that was necessary.
They are old enough to be out on their own and are old enough to know the truth. Give them the paper to read.
You need to have a sensible conversation about personal safety and boundaries. "Don't talk to strangers" is terrible advice.
I say that as someone once in a position of being the only adult around and having to sort out a problem for a 7 year old boy who had clearly been taught that and had taken it literally. This made sorting out what happened much more difficult for all concerned.
Tell them the truth. They need to be aware of the risk of abuse and of the behaviour of abusers, not just in general, but of this specific man.
You also said "The man in question lives with his parents, who are really nice people.".
I beg to differ. Nice people don't support or remain in the company of child sex offenders.
Keeping on friendly terms with the supporters of someone like that could send mixed messages to your daughters. It wouldn't be my choice.
My girls are younger than yours but we have had a lot of chats about internet safety, and they play online within my sight if with other children only on sites I allow- plus they ask me if unsure about if asked anything as occasionally someone has asked their age or something like that.
The stranger rule is really unhelpful- for younger children, we talk about motivation and why people aren't always intending what you think (if they ask your age, offer you sweets, offer you to see their cat)- so the right thing to do is to ask me first about everything like that.
It is harder when they are older, though as they will take on more decision making themselves.
I would probably be really honest about this- I think at 13 and 11 they can read the local newspaper and perhaps have to walk/travel to school on their own, so not too young to know that the man on the corner has been convicted of pretending to be young to get to know young girls. Perhaps I am too honest, but I've talked with my 10 year old about why some men might pretend to be young to talk with her- as on the sites she likes (minecraft) people do ask things like ages.
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