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To take Dd 11 to meet online friend?

(87 Posts)
MummyCool19 Thu 23-May-19 21:19:07

Dd has met a girl on TikTok around 4 months ago. Iv been following their friendship since day 1. She FaceTimes her in the living room etc and Iv heard their conversations. The girl lives in Birmingham and it’s aboht 20 min train ride away. Dd has been begging to meet her so im thinking about taking her. Obviously I will stay with her 100% of the time, but am I crazy for doing yhis😩

HalfBloodPrincess Thu 23-May-19 21:22:48

Why not? If you’re supervising then it’s no different than her going out with any other friend really.

Will she also have a parent with her?

Mummabear12345567889 Thu 23-May-19 22:06:43

I think it's a really good idea. You're encouraging an open relationship with her. She will feel more able to talk to you about her online activity which is so important. I'm assuming you talk to her about online safety too.

InACheeseAndPickle Thu 23-May-19 22:10:09

I don't see the issue if you'll be going with her. Banning her is more likely to encourage secrecy. This way you know what's going on and you're there to make sure DD is safe.

bridgetreilly Thu 23-May-19 22:10:52

It's perfectly fine to go. Arrange to meet in a public place, make sure you've all decided in advance what you will do and for how long, and then stick to it. Ideally, the other child would also bring a parent who you could meet as well.

ClashCityRocker Thu 23-May-19 22:12:25

It sounds all fully supervised so I don't see why not. Can you facetime the other parent too?

More to make sure you're both aware of the arrangements etc than anything else.

speakout Thu 23-May-19 22:14:39

Users of Tiktok need to be 13 or over.

Personally I think you are crazy.

I wouldn't be teaching my child that it's OK to meet people you chat to online.

nwybhs Thu 23-May-19 22:15:16

I wouldn't be encouraging this kind of thing at 11 years old. If you accept online friending and meet ups now you give yourself a problem when she is 14/15/16 and thinks it's ok to go meet random strangers alone. She shouldn't be using apps that are for 13 plus, your condoning that is minimising yet again the risk of online strangers.

Patroclus Thu 23-May-19 22:17:00

If you're going with her whats the issue? I'd probably have appreciated it at that age actually, 3 people much less awkward than 2 on a first meeting.

tobypercy Thu 23-May-19 22:17:24

What a great opportunity to talk about good and bad ways to meet someone in real life who you originally met online.

Some of my best friends I originally made online.

Do it.

Starlight456 Thu 23-May-19 22:17:25

Tbh at 11 this would not be happening. My Ds ( 12) is taught you have no idea who anyone is online .

I worry this message has been missed

BarbedBloom Thu 23-May-19 22:18:19

I would. I made an online friend at that age and we are still friends now and I am 37. But just make sure you are with her at all times, it is a public place and she gets no unsupervised access to Tik tok. You don't want her thinking that this person is ok so others are too

nwybhs Thu 23-May-19 22:21:12

Wow, how did 11 year olds meet online in 1993? I am slightly older and hadn't even heard of the internet, let alone had access to meet people!

CloudPop Thu 23-May-19 22:24:16

Also intrigued about meeting online in 1993!

Wincarnis Thu 23-May-19 22:34:31

Chatrooms were around in 1993...AOL..Compuserve... etc. lots of people made friends in that way!

nwybhs Thu 23-May-19 22:36:59

I'm mind blown. No one at all that I knew or know of throughout my entire school and home life had access to these.

PantTwizzler Thu 23-May-19 22:39:55

My 11yo hasn’t even heard of TikTok (neither have I). Plenty of time for online involvement leading to meet-ups when she’s (far) older, surely?

BrieAndChilli Thu 23-May-19 22:40:59

I’m 38 and didn’t use a ‘chat room’ until I went to uni!!

DD is 10 and has tiktok but she’s not allowed to follow/be followed by anyone she’s not friends with in real life. There’s plenty of ways for her to meet people, she doesn’t need to take the risk of online friends being not what they seem or being used to groom her.

BrieAndChilli Thu 23-May-19 22:42:25

This says MSN messenger came out in 1999.

Grotesque Thu 23-May-19 22:45:31

I would allow it, with certain rules and boundaries in place. I would also chat about online safety, accessing age appropriate social media etc.

I got access to the internet age 10. Unrestricted & unsupervised. I saw/read a lot of stuff I shouldn't have at that age. But I also met some really great people from all walks of life that I am still friends with now! I met my best friend on neopets in 2001 and didn't meet her IRL until 2015.

Traveller104 Thu 23-May-19 22:47:16

ICQ was a well used chat room platform in 1996, I made quite a few online friends that way.

nwybhs Thu 23-May-19 22:48:15

By 96 I had heard of the net but still didn't have access.

MuddlingMackem Thu 23-May-19 22:51:44

YANBU.

DH and I have met up with people we've got to know online, so we've always said to the DC that meeting up isn't a problem, but that as children they need to have an adult with them if they want to. There has been no opportunity for this yet, but both kids are fine with it.

MoreHairyThanScary Thu 23-May-19 22:58:14

I can remember using chat rooms at uni 94-95 ish

Wildorchidz Thu 23-May-19 22:58:31

Have you made sure that the other child will have an adult with them?

Wildorchidz Thu 23-May-19 22:59:47

I can remember using chat rooms at uni 94-95

But you were not 11.
My mind is boggling here.

Gth1234 Thu 23-May-19 23:00:07

he might be 40 and scruffy!

it's safe if you are there.

floraloctopus Thu 23-May-19 23:11:49

I'm am friends now with people I got to know Fidonet in the 1980s.

KinderSurpriseBump Thu 23-May-19 23:11:53

OP are you going to talk to the child's parents beforehand? Make sure that one of them is also going, so you're not in a vulnerable position.

namechangedforanon Thu 23-May-19 23:12:46

You sound great for considering it .

Speak to the other parent and do it .

I agree - builds positive transparent relationship

SandyY2K Thu 23-May-19 23:23:40

I'm not sure what the distance is from your location to Birmingham, but I wouldn't want a long journey.

I'd probably also like to give it a while longer and then I would want to talk to the girl's parents/facetime before the meet up.

As long as you're with her and meet in a public place, I think it's fine. You sound like a nice mum.

Times have changed. People meet in different ways... so saying how did 11 yo make friends in the 90s is irrelevant really.

We all survived with stuff many of us can't live without now.

nwybhs Thu 23-May-19 23:29:06

I'm not sure what the distance is from your location to Birmingham, but I wouldn't want a long journey.

OP said 20 mins on a train.

Times have changed. People meet in different ways... so saying how did 11 yo make friends in the 90s is irrelevant really.

I wasn't saying kids shouldn't meet this way because they didn't in the 90's. I was saying kids shouldn't be encouraged to use apps they are below the age limit for, not should they be enabled to meet strangers from the internet.

The thing about chat rooms in 1993 was an 'OMG, we didn't have that' and at no point did I suggest that was the reason people should use them now.

Alsohuman Thu 23-May-19 23:32:21

Properly supervised, which this meeting will be, I really don’t see a problem. I’ve met some of my best friends and my husband online. It’s a completely normal part of modern life.

MiddleClassProblem Thu 23-May-19 23:35:42

How different is it from meeting a pen friend?

nwybhs Thu 23-May-19 23:36:33

Properly supervised, which this meeting will be, I really don’t see a problem.

Escalation is the problem.

Do you think the OP will still be accompanying her DD to meet strangers when she is 14? 15? 16? How about not normalising this.

It’s a completely normal part of modern life

For adults. Not children. Not 11 year old girls.

Let's face it, OP is already letting her DD use an app that has an age restriction of 13. She has minimised internet risk, and will enforce that again by meeting a stranger from said app.

Dollylolly123 Thu 23-May-19 23:36:56

I think it’s a good idea. I remember asking my mum and she said no, I went anyway. Thank god my friend was who she said she was. Your Dd will be far more open and honest with you if she knows she can ask you these things.

nwybhs Thu 23-May-19 23:37:14

How different is it from meeting a pen friend?

Im not sure anyone said it was?

MiddleClassProblem Thu 23-May-19 23:37:55

Did I say somebody said it was? I was posing a question...

nwybhs Thu 23-May-19 23:38:36

Ooo tetchy much.

Alsohuman Thu 23-May-19 23:38:43

I think you’re being a bit of a drama queen @nwybhs.

nwybhs Thu 23-May-19 23:38:56

To answer your question though, it isn't.

nwybhs Thu 23-May-19 23:40:12

I think you’re being a bit of a drama queen @nwybhs.

A drama queen? For suggesting we keep our 11 year old children safe? Yeah. Dramatic as fuck.

Honestly, I can't understand why people are so blasé about kids and internet meet ups.

MiddleClassProblem Thu 23-May-19 23:41:23

Nope, not tetchy. Just clarifying.

Alsohuman Thu 23-May-19 23:43:03

When I was 15 or so - back in the dark ages - we used to go to France to stay with pen pals without our parents. This is a meeting supervised by the child’s parent. Yes, you are being a drama queen.

mrbob Thu 23-May-19 23:49:27

A drama queen? For suggesting we keep our 11 year old children safe? Yeah. Dramatic as fuck

OP IS keeping her child safe. By supervising her appropriately, teaching her about safe ways to use the internet and what isn’t safe and keeping communication open. FWIW I think I am a bit dark ages and feel technology is way overused in the young and children of 11 don’t need to have a phone or be in chat rooms but even I think this could be the start of a nice friendship in the manner of an old school pen pal smile

nwybhs Thu 23-May-19 23:50:39

When I was 15 or so - back in the dark ages - we used to go to France to stay with pen pals without our parents. This is a meeting supervised by the child’s parent. Yes, you are being a drama queen.

In your opinion that is ok so looking after our 11 year olds is dramatic.

In my world 11 year old children don't meet up with people they have met online, they don't use apps for which they don't meet the age criteria and they don't talk to anyone online they don't know in real life. Internet safety is HUGE in schools and youth organisations, it's also really basic stuff. None of it is dramatic.

LimeKiwi Thu 23-May-19 23:50:55

Bloody hell.
Not read all the replies, just the OP.
I have an 11 year old.
If he was wanting to meet someone he'd met online (what are they doing meeting people they don't know at that age online anyway?! But that's a separate issue.....)
Damn right I'd be accompanying him. How do you know who they say they are for starters?
Could be anyone.

nwybhs Thu 23-May-19 23:53:24

OP IS keeping her child safe. By supervising her appropriately, teaching her about safe ways to use the internet

Erm, she isn't keeping her safe by allowing her to access chat with strangers on an app rated 13+. Learning how to use the internet safety means respecting the rules. OP has allowed her DD to do the absolute opposite.

I realise we all parent differently but I think 11 year olds should be treated as 11year olds, not mini adults meeting up with random people.

LimeKiwi Thu 23-May-19 23:54:50

@nwybhs The thing about chat rooms in 1993 was an 'OMG, we didn't have that' and at no point did I suggest that was the reason people should use them now

Was chat rooms in 1993 a thing?! No such thing as the internet as far as I recall lol.
I say this as I remember being at college in 93-96 and the library had this newfangled invention that people could go and visit and log on to. For websites etc, it definitely wasn't the norm in your usual household in 93.
<shows age>

Wildorchidz Thu 23-May-19 23:55:12

In my world 11 year old children don't meet up with people they have met online, they don't use apps for which they don't meet the age criteria and they don't talk to anyone online they don't know in real life.

This would be my world too.
But I think a lot of parents are very blasé about what their young children do online.

GabsAlot Thu 23-May-19 23:56:10

The good old days of aol chat-its how i met DH

I think its fine if your supervising-even when shes older keep an eye on who shes tlaking to

nwybhs Thu 23-May-19 23:57:01

Was chat rooms in 1993 a thing?! No such thing as the internet as far as I recall lol.

So me one upthread said they used them back then when they were 11.

nwybhs Thu 23-May-19 23:57:12

*someone

BoomBoomsCousin Thu 23-May-19 23:58:57

^ OP is already letting her DD use an app that has an age restriction of 13.^

The 13 age restriction on many internet services is because of commercialization and data privacy laws in the US, not stranger danger. The app's age restriction has nothing to do with whether it's a good idea to meet up or not.

OP teaching your daughter how to approach meeting strangers is a great life skill. If she has a way to do these things safely and knows you won't stand in her way she's far more likely to continue to do so safely as she gets older. If you just tell her it's too dangerous then she probably won't go for a couple of years, but when she's 14/15 she may well lie to you about it and sneak off, putting her self in very vulnerable situations.

LimeKiwi Thu 23-May-19 23:59:21

I can remember using chat rooms at uni 94-95

But you were not 11

Exactly!!!!! If you were using chat rooms in 1995 you had to be college or uni age. Not primary school

MiddleClassProblem Thu 23-May-19 23:59:43

I mean... the World Wide Web was invented in 89. It’s just one of those things that on 93 some had access to but by 96 most had access too (home, school, library etc) and thus we no longer needed encarta

nwybhs Fri 24-May-19 00:05:57

The 13 age restriction on many internet services is because of commercialization and data privacy laws in the US, not stranger danger. The app's age restriction has nothing to do with whether it's a good idea to meet up or not.

I never said it had any bearing on stranger danger. I said she is minimising risk by actively showing her DD that it's ok to ignore such ratings.

Graphista Fri 24-May-19 00:10:59

What on earth?! Is this for real?!

Not only have you clearly not taught her how to stay safe online you've actively encouraged poor and quite possibly unsafe development of a friendship with someone you don't know from Adam!

Wtf!!!!

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-30786021

Have you done ANYTHING to check this person is who they claim? That they're not being used to draw in your child? That they're not linked to anyone dodgy?

Shockingly dangerous parenting.

I actually hope this isn't real.

BoomBoomsCousin Fri 24-May-19 00:12:02

"Exactly!!!!! If you were using chat rooms in 1995 you had to be college or uni age. Not primary school"

Usenet and dial up bulletin boards were around in the 70s. All you needed was a dial up modem for your parent's BBC micro and parents who didn't look at the phone bill too closely. Or, in my case, a friend with a modem and a BBC computer and parents who didn't look at the phone bill too closely. If you were geeky and had the resources back then you could certainly get online.

BoomBoomsCousin Fri 24-May-19 00:13:24

Sorry, failed to quote LimeKiwi properly.

BoomBoomsCousin Fri 24-May-19 00:16:31

I never said it had any bearing on stranger danger. I said she is minimising risk by actively showing her DD that it's ok to ignore such ratings.

If she did it by saying "Oh just ignore the ratings they never mean anything" then possibly. If she said "You have to check with me so I can ensure your data is safe and it's suitable" then she hasn't minimized the risk at all, she's demonstrating how to assess appropriately and not mindlessly follow direction.

LimeKiwi Fri 24-May-19 00:17:48

@BoomBoomsCousin my point is though that it definitely wasn't the norm and people absolutely didn't have it in their homes in the 70s and 80s!
If they did it was an extremely small minority and definitely not mainstream

Skittlesandbeer Fri 24-May-19 00:18:08

Depends on the maturity of the child (yours) in my opinion.

Some 11yos would certainly take this experience and make dangerous assumptions: that minimum age limits don’t apply to them online, that all internet contacts are positive, that meeting online contacts alone is the same as meeting them with a parent. That’s some pretty bad precedents, right there.

On the other hand, I know some 11yos with very screwed on heads. Who could easily take in the difference in this situation compared to dangerous ones. Kids who could carry this off, as a one-off, and in fact emerge more conscious of cyber safety than their peers. As a parent I’d be weighing up the benefits of having my DD spend lots of time online with this one mate, rather than wandering more aimlessly around the internet. It’s a full-time bloody job policing the games (which add chat rooms without warning angry, etc). This relationship might actually prevent other online situations developing. But it’d be a carefully made decision, based on knowing my child very well.

BoomBoomsCousin Fri 24-May-19 00:23:19

LimeKiwi it doesn't have to have been mainstream for a few people to have had it though, does it? One person said they'd found a friend this way and lots of people jumped on board telling her she couldn't possibly have. But she most certainly could. I used bulletin boards in the UK as a kid in the mid 80s. There were other kids on there on the right boards, Quite a lot from the US. It's not at all beyond the realms of possible just because it wasn't mainstream.

nwybhs Fri 24-May-19 00:28:24

I was just really surprised because I was 15 in 1993 and thought I knew it all blush

SandyY2K Fri 24-May-19 00:30:04

Pp are saying the other girl is a stranger...yes she is...but if her mum supervises the trip, it will soon be obvious if there's a problem.

They've been facetiming...very different to online chat where it could be an old man pretending to be kid.

I would like the friendship to be longer than a few months before meeting up though.

On the 13 age restriction.. what makes me laugh to those making a big deal about it... is the number parents that happily allow/encourage under age drinking...under age smoking... under age sex... and you make a fuss about this. ..Really?

The OP has monitored the friendship from day 1. She's allowed this safely under supervision and it's rather unfair to make out she has been irresponsible here.

nwybhs Fri 24-May-19 00:32:48

On the 13 age restriction.. what makes me laugh to those making a big deal about it... is the number parents that happily allow/encourage under age drinking...under age smoking... under age sex... and you make a fuss about this. ..Really?

I never facilitated any of my now adult DC to do any of those things. I was quite pro active in teaching them to respect that ratings and restrictions were in place for a reason.

Quite odd if you to think people don't allow under 13s to use 13+ apps but allow them to drink, smoke and have sex though - what even makes you think that would be the case?

m0therofdragons Fri 24-May-19 00:43:09

Nope, nope, nope. Why are you allowing your 11yo to do this?! Google Tiktok danger and you'll see the articles from this year come up (see screen grab). blush

ReindeerTails Fri 24-May-19 00:46:32

My DD is 12 and personally I wouldn't do it.

Snakelight Fri 24-May-19 02:24:10

I'd talk with the other child's parent (probably sensible if they attended) and have the meet up in a public place. With basic precautions there's no real risk.

speakout Fri 24-May-19 06:09:10

On the 13 age restriction.. what makes me laugh to those making a big deal about it... is the number parents that happily allow/encourage under age drinking...under age smoking... under age sex... and you make a fuss about this. ..Really?

Who the hell happily ancourages under age drinking/smoking /sex?

No parent I have known.

kmc1111 Fri 24-May-19 06:34:56

My step-son was chatting in various forums beginning in 92-93. He would have been 9-10 then. I remember he was particularly fond of a palaeontology board where he was chatting largely with what turned out to be many very highly regarded palaeontologists. We got many invites to attend lectures and have private tours of exhibits and he later got a few internships out of those connections.

It was a cool time for the internet if you had any sort of niche interest, as you could almost guarantee the chat boards for that interest would be loaded of real experts who were delighted to talk to enthusiasts.

He also made a ton of friends his age, and when he was older and starting to travel he had a friend to stay with practically everywhere he wanted to go (many stayed with us too).

I think the early 90’s was a pretty polarised time as far as the internet. There were a lot of fairly regular people who’d been using it in some capacity for years at that point, and then there were plenty of others who’d never even touched a computer yet. I’d say maybe a quarter of my step-sons irl friends back then used the internet like him. By 95-96 it would have been more like half.

Pinkyyy Fri 24-May-19 06:37:47

You need to speak with the girl's parents first.

Rubberduckies Fri 24-May-19 06:44:07

I think it's a good idea to model how to safely meet people you've met online. So many people are idiots as adults because they just don't think.

Lots of people online date now and it will be important for your daughter to know how to be safe.

Make sure to explain the steps you are going through together and why. Letting someone else know where you're going, meeting in a public place etc etc

SparklyLeprechaun Fri 24-May-19 06:58:13

I wouldn't, it's not a good lesson to teach her. Also, if you do decide to take her, at least make sure you protect yourself by contacting the other parents first, otherwise you'll be the weirdo who meets children found online.

EverybodysTalkingAtMe Fri 24-May-19 07:04:25

My DS met a friend online at the age of 14 and played multi player games with him consistently for years.

At the age of 18 DS passed his driving test and almost the first thing he did was drive to meet his friend at the friend's home in the Netherlands.

They had a lovely time and are still firm friends now - they are both 22.

SandyY2K Fri 24-May-19 08:07:58

Who the hell happily ancourages under age drinking/smoking /sex?

I've seen numerous posts on MN where parents have no issue with this. Often saying "I used to drink/smoke/have sex myself at 14"

I've also noticed it as a general thing when DD was invited to parties in school before she was 16. My experience is that a lot of parents had no issue with this. They were present and aware.... but here's the crazy thing ... it's not illegal to give a child alcohol in the UK from the age of 5 to 16 in the UK on private premises. How mad is that.

When a poster in a recent thread was talking about getting her 14 year old on the pill because she has a BF and can be careless... most responses supported this.

So I'm not saying every parent is like that, but back to the actual thread... I think the OP has been very responsible, by monitoring from the get go and supervising a potential visit of another child her DD has been facetiming....

OP... I'd give the friendship longer to develop and as I previously mentioned, I'd want to talk to the other girl's DM.

nwybhs Fri 24-May-19 08:13:42

I've seen numerous posts on MN where parents have no issue with this.

Oh me too, but they are not the same people that ha e a problem with their child using 13+ apps at 11. There isn't a drawable comparison. 'Some people are much worse' is a pathetic argument that people use over and over on Mumsnet. Judge each situation on its own merit. When discussing 11 year olds meeting people from the internet; how many people let their under 18's drink alcohol is totally and utterly irrelevant.

Citygirl2019 Fri 24-May-19 08:26:43

I have done similar with my dd over the years, so I would say 'yes' Yale her.
My dd and I now have a very open and trusting relationship as a result d continues to ask before meeting people.

At Easter she wanted to meet friends she had been talking to in London. They had arranged to meet in Hyde park. Myself and dp went with her we strolled round the park and watched from a distance after the initial meet up. Once I was comfortable it was safe we went for a coffee etc.

My point is she could of snuck off and gone alone. She didn't because she knows if she talks to me I will support her and find a solution for her to go.

Op continue to be keep communication open. Listen and support her if it's appropriate. I honestly have a lovely relationship with my dd, we actually enjoy spending time together (not just meeting online friends).

Whatareyoutalkingabout Fri 24-May-19 09:02:03

I think that it would really be great for your relationship with her. She will see you as open, trustworthy, and be able to come to you when she wants things and know she can talk to you and you'll try to understand her point of view. My mother said flat out 'no' to everything when I was a child/teenager. She was incredibly strict and would never budge. I couldn't talk to her, because she wouldn't ever listen to or care about my reasons for wanting to do things and would just say no. As a result I felt angry, disrespected, and like I had nobody I could talk to or trust because my mum was inaccessible to me due to her strictness. I ended up doing literally whatever I wanted but behind her back - she didn't have a clue. I have loved to have a mother like you who would be open to things and support me and understand my feelings! You'll be there so she will be safe and it will teach your daughter that she can go to you and doesn't need to try to sneak around.

MummyCool19 Fri 24-May-19 09:34:28

See I was the same! But my mum was an alcoholic and my dad worked away long hours. I spent days talking to randoms on the Internet, and they clearly were older than me! I put myself in such risky situations to meet them. I was constantly seeking that attention I was missing, and because I was badly bullied, it was nice to feel wanted. My parents knew nothing. They weren’t really interested. Our computer was in the dining room and they never bothered to check what I was doing.

I never ever want my children to be like that. So much so I even did a course with Care for the family on Tuesday called left to their own devices.

I’m happy she’s made a friend she can talk too.

CheshireChat Fri 24-May-19 10:24:23

It would be great if you could chat to one of the parents as they'll probably want to supervise as well, but I'm not sure I'd be against the idea really.

I was definitely chatting to strangers on MIRC (is that what it's called) at roughly the same age and was largely unsupervised as my mum simply wasn't tech savvy enough

weleasewoderick22 Fri 24-May-19 10:45:43

What's the difference between making friends online and meeting up, and having pen pals back in the day? The parent is going so what is the problem?

Aguamenti Fri 24-May-19 10:51:55

it's like modern penpal and you are supervising it. As long as you go with her it should be fine.

ReindeerTails Fri 24-May-19 20:36:29

welease in theory there's not a lot of difference except online is far easier to connect with people and requires far less effort than putting pen to paper, also the relationship develops much faster (and superficially deeper) because the information can be exchanged at a much faster rate than writing letters and waiting for a response. Also the instant "to and fro" exchange creates a sense of intimacy and can draw out details people probably wouldn't share in a letter where they are generally more careful with what they write.

That's the difference.

NerrSnerr Fri 24-May-19 21:42:07

I was chatting on Compuserve message boards in the early 90s as an early teen. I remember befriending one girl who i exchanged emails with for a couple of years. We both liked watching snooker. The ones I used were crawling with perverts who in those days didn't try to disguise they were grown men hitting on teenagers.

jackparlabane Fri 24-May-19 22:00:35

Go with her, and reinforce that by asking you to go with, she's done the mature and responsible thing.

I recall a terrified friend of mine asking for advice about 20 years ago because a girl at boarding school had got access to the Internet and was stalking him, totally hero-worshiping him (he was famous within a very niche field) and when he'd mentioned he was going to be at an event she planned to come too. Given she was 16 and he was twice her age this was never going to look good. I recommended she get a friend to come too, he got a couple more friends, and we tried to convince her he was an ordinary human being with all the embarrassing stories. All ended up as good friends once she left school, but she was damn lucky in her choice of idol! It could have gone badly wrong for her - especially as her parents would never have bothered taking an interest.

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