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Help! We found inappropriate text messages on dsd's mobile phone.

(103 Posts)
SheerWill Sat 31-Dec-16 09:47:57

Please forgive me if you find I'm drip feeding. I haven't slept much having only found out about 8pm last night.

I returned home from visiting friends to find dh very distressed. Yesterday he picked up his daughter from up north and brought her down to us. While he was picking up his mum (who is also staying with us) dsd told them she had a 15 year old boyfriend. Dsd is 12. She is a vulnerable young lady who attends a special school for students with mental health problems and Autistic Spectrum Disorder. She's only been attending school find September having refused school since the end of Y6. We have had concerns about her use of internet/social media for around 2 years. She was hospitalised 2 years ago for self harming and dh exw told him that she'd found evidence of dsd emailing older men and that messages had been inappropriate - of a sexual nature. Dh wanted to report it and do something at the time but exw persuaded him that due to her fragile state of mind they needed to not report it and he was persuaded.

Fast forward to now. Dsd has virtually no policing of her social media/gadgets use when she is at home with exw. On a number of occasions since the incident I describe above she has posted videos on YouTube where she talks about things no 12 year old should know. She has now created a Facebook account (separate to the one her mum knows about) that we only just found out about. She has also been texting this 15 year old boyfriend who goes to her school and is also autistic.

Dh asked to see her phone and she point blank refused. We police all the children's internet and gadget use while they are here. He managed to get her phone off her and she had a meltdown. When DH read the messaged they were extremely sexually explicit. No revealing photos have been shared but it has been encouraged. His messaged are more explicit than hers but from what I've read she started it.

DH is absolutely distraught. As soon as I got home and he told me we put his mum in charge of the kids so we could talk privately and we made notes on all the occasions leading up to this incident. We have now contacted the police where she lives as she is already known to social services and CAMHS. We are so frustrated that her mum continues to refuse to police her phone/tablet and internet use. The police are going to get back in touch with us either today or Monday.

We're in a mess and don't know what to do. I would much rather she stay with us until this whole sitation is resolved. DSD will hate it but I feel this has now gone far enough and she needs parents who will not only love her but also give her boundaries and protect her (from herself if nothing else). She has very poor self esteem and body image issues and I'm sure she just likes the attention and the nice comments these men have made but it's horrendous.

Any advice/guidance welcome - please help!

Scrubbles Sat 31-Dec-16 09:55:22

I think the police have to be involved. She's 12, he's 15 - actual offences may well have been committed here and both of them need to smack hard against a boundary. I work with young people and we regularly discover sexting / inappropriate messages / safeguarding concerns around online behaviour and phones, and at that point we always, always notify social services and the police.

I appreciate that the ASD/MH factors cloud the waters a bit, but if this isn't already well on the slippery slope to breaches of the 2003 amendment to the 1978 Protection of Children Act, it's certainly something that needs nipped in the bud before a tipping point is reached and crimes are committed by one or both of these children.

On a more personal note, this must be enormously distressing for you and your family. flowers and hugs

govan Sat 31-Dec-16 09:59:53

Police all the way for this. If she is vulnerable, older men looking for a target to victimise will pick up on this, and may be/have been grooming her. Possibly slightly separate issue with the 15 year old if he is also vulnerable, but that doesn't make it acceptable and she needs to be protected from this.

There are huge safe guarding issues here, and contacting the police was absolutely the right thing to do. You may also want to contact the school's safeguarding person.

SheerWill Sat 31-Dec-16 13:04:37

I'm glad the you guys have agreed that contacting the police was the right way to go. We're now going to ring Social Services out of hours telephone number and give them a heads up because we don't know what to dore. her going back to her mums as planned on Monday.

The police want to seize her phone and laptop which we have already taken away from her.

However, we're suppose to be taking her home to her mum on Monday and I just feel like it's an irresponsible hing for us to do. She is not being properly monitored or protected from dangerous people, images and inappropriate content. I want to take down her youtube channel and her facebook accounts and just give her back her childhood but is that like trying to close the door after the horse has bolted?

Her father has just as much right to have her as her mum does and Im not really concerned how exdw feels as she's had plenty of opportunities to protect and monitor dsd. But what I don't want is to alienate dsd. She's not really had boundaries except when she's here with us and I worry this might tip her over the edge. She's already been hospitalized for self harm in the past.

HappyJanuary Sat 31-Dec-16 13:14:55

This must be enormously distressing and it sounds as if you have handled it well.

I would just caution against assuming that her Mum doesn't care, or is ineffective.

Teenagers can be very secretive, and very tenacious. I've got four teens, and know a number of loving parents who ran into trouble because they were too trusting, or didn't understand the technology.

What I'm saying is - her Mum may be monitoring her social networking accounts and switching the wifi off at bedtime, unaware that her dd has secret accounts and hidden apps.

Police, social services and her school all need to be involved of course, but talk to her Mum too and hear her side of it before presenting a united front.

LesisMiserable Sat 31-Dec-16 13:16:05

Do you have teenagers of your own or just dsd?

blueskyinmarch Sat 31-Dec-16 13:21:49

You have done the right thing. It is likely that police and social work will work together on this. She is at high risk of being sexually exploited and i would say an assessment needs to be done and plans need to be made to ensure she is kept safe. Work also needs to be undertaken with the boy so he understands what is and isn’t acceptable. It sounds like he is pretty vulnerable too. You all need to be sharing any plans and giving your DSD a united front which might be hard if her dM isn’t as on board with it as you are. Good luck.

LesisMiserable Sat 31-Dec-16 13:25:01

I'd be absolutely certain her mum is very much on board with her dd not being sexually exploited.

Bunkai Sat 31-Dec-16 13:51:39

Agree that her mum may well be trying to monitor. You can't assume she is not as you're not in her home. A better strategy would be for DH to tell her what's been found as see if the two of them can work together at protecting their DD.

Much better than going in with accusations or not sending dsd back.

GTS Sat 31-Dec-16 14:06:43

wowsers, poor you! No real advice, but tbh it sounds like you're doing all the right things, well done for handling such a traumatic situation so well. If SS are involved, after their initial assessment it is likely that they will spell out exactly what her mother needs to be doing to protect her going forward.

SheerWill Sat 31-Dec-16 14:13:59

So far we haven't spoken to dsd about the messages we have just removed all her devices and carried on as normal.

I put her and her 11 y/o sister to work this morning helping make breakfast and they're currently crafting. My dh and I have 4 kids between us dsd is the eldest. Although I have no teens of my own (she's 12 and autistic so not even remotely emotionally ready to be a teenager) but Im a SEN teacher at a mainstream secondary school so work with teenagers every day.

I know how sneaky she can be. She has created a new FB profile that I'm pretty sure her mum know nothing about, she's changed the name of her youtube channel and she nicked our internet password and shared it with her sister (even though dh had hidden it). She's not daft but she is incredibly vulnerable. We have been raising concerns re. her internet/gadget use since she was 10. When she was hospitalized in 2014 her mum admitted finding sexually explicit messages between dsd and men (who either knew or didn't know she was 10).

Since then we have policed her usage as best we can from 180 miles away and when she's here - flagging up any concerns. But we hear nothing from her mother unless she wants to moan at us. Dsd has made Youtube videos coming out as Transgender on more than one occasion! We feel like we're banging our heads against a brick wall for all the good that's come of our policing so far.

It now seems to be getting more serious however. If they've not been sexually intimate then it's certainly heading that way and both her and this boy are victims of having too much knowledge too soon.

govan Sat 31-Dec-16 15:40:24

Perhaps letting the police speak to DSD and her mum would help things? Make them realise how serious this is. If DSD had to physically hand her devices over to an officer it may make a lasting impression on her? Not in a bad way, hopefully in a caring way, but enough to make her think twice beyond "my parents are so uncool" etc.

LesisMiserable Sat 31-Dec-16 15:47:39

I feel for her mum. Its murder trying to parent a teen girl at present alone, they are prone to peer pressure online, as a single mum (even with a partner) , let alone with your dsd's complex situation. If you could all work together it would be great.

herwegoagain123 Sat 31-Dec-16 15:51:47

This happened to a friend of mine except sexual relations had occurred between a 13 yr old girl and a 15 yr old boy. It was reported to the police and not much happened as the boy was also underage. Police just had a word with both.
This girl is vunerable too and had numerous accounts on social media. I find the parents have carried on being too trusting and not laying down boundries. Went round for drinks at xmas and the girl had full makeup on with false eyelashes and hot pants. soooo embarrassing for everyone. Wont be going again.

toptoe Sat 31-Dec-16 15:57:03

She's being sexxually abused. The boy is more than 2 years her senior so he's abusing her too.

SheerWill Sat 31-Dec-16 16:48:02

I would feel more sympathy for her mum if it weren't the fact that she kept her off school for 18 months, during which time she did pretty much whatever she wanted - including regarding access to the internet and social media.

We have been kept very much in the dark about anything of concern yet we pass on anything we have found on her Facebook and YouTube accounts, which still isn't being dealt with. This has been happening since she was 10 - not just a teen, which she still isn't as she's 12. She has poor self esteem and a history of self harm. I'm sure she does it for the attention because these people tell her she looks nice, pretty, sexy.

Nothing we've said or done so far has been listened to and it's just getting more and more worrying. Social Services have just phoned us back and have confirmed she has a case worker and is known to be a child in need.

If her mum would just get off her lazy arse and parent her properly I would be happy to drive her back Monday. However, I worry for her safety because she'll be back to school Tuesday and her mum will just buy her a new phone with unlimited internet access.

youarenotkiddingme Sat 31-Dec-16 16:59:24

What you have found and what is happening is extremely worrying and dangerous for DSD.

But please be careful about calling her mum a lazy arse. I single parent a 12yo with asd. I have no one else to take him at any time.
I have strict rules and boundaries with Ds including the fact he has NO you tube account, FB, Instagram etc. He is not ready for that emotionally or socially.

But he has on occasion been caught bypassing my boundaries. He's fat more computer savvy than me. I obviously take away computer etc when he does but do not underestimate how much the one track thinking and obsessive nature that can go alongside autism outweighs the ability to stick to boundaries at times.

LIZS Sat 31-Dec-16 17:05:25

Well done so far. I also think you should involve school so that they can review online safety with the pupils in an appropriate way. Is it a boarding or day school? Would it be possible to meet together including her dm with ss etc to discuss a way forward.

NewNNfor2017 Sat 31-Dec-16 17:10:06

Social Services have just phoned us back and have confirmed she has a case worker and is known to be a child in need.

This is something your DH had a right to know. Do SocServ, the school, etc have his details on file? Does he get invited, independently, to meetings involving your DSD care?

He needs to be a lot more involved, not withstanding the distances involved - or he has to accept that his DDs mum in doing the best she can, and not try and fix things in the limited time he does spend with her.

Your DH could apply for an emergency Child Arrangement Order in order to prevent your DSD returning to her Mum until the issue is resolved, but given the practical and emotional complications that will involve, it's a last resort really.

Probably Better that your DH takes time off (which he'd need to do with an emergency order anyway) and spends time talking to the professionals involved in his DDs life face to face about what the plan is to keep her safe.

cansu Sat 31-Dec-16 17:17:52

I think you have overstepped here by not discussing this with her mum. You have also made the decision to return her as arranged for no real reason. She is not at any immediate risk, will be returning to school, you have already raised concerns with the authorities about her internet use. What would keeping her from her home achieve other than upsetting your dsd and causing a massive and potentially v damaging family argument. There is every chance she will end up returning to her mum's care anyway but this time her mum will doubtless be v reluctant to entrust you with her again. The grown up way to deal with this would be to confiscate the phone, return her as arranged and for her father to make his concerns clear to ex and if necessary report to school and social care.

cansu Sat 31-Dec-16 17:20:06

also most children with sen who access respite or any other specialist support are known to social care as they will have a social worker for children with disabilities. It does not mean there are concerns about her mother's parenting.

Pagwatch Sat 31-Dec-16 17:21:35

I can understand your fear and frustration but I think it would be incredibly useful if you would try and resist the urge to use this as an opportunity to focus on what you see as her mothers failings.

The comment about the boy abusing the girl is unhelpful. If they both attend a special school it's entirely possible that he is at least as vulnerable as her.

SVJAA Sat 31-Dec-16 17:25:31

This exact thing happened with my eldest DSD recently. We contacted the police, there's already SS involvement at Mum's house, and also removed her phone (it was ongoing despite constant checks). Hope your DSD is ok.

SarcasmMode Sat 31-Dec-16 17:35:46

Oh no poor DH and his poor daughter - she must feel awful deep down about this.

Honestly, it sounds like exw isn't suitable for looking after her - could you apply to have her stay with you?

I wasn't supervised much at that age either as parents didn't really understand the Internet. I did do some inappropriate things on webcam around that age as well as having a 20 year old be sexually aggressive to me on the phone when I was 14.

I'd tackle this now. I'd hate your DD to end up having my level of low self esteem and not understand boundaries. She doesn't need to be sexual to be appreciate/

What a difficult situation.

SheerWill Sat 31-Dec-16 17:38:41

I think a multi agency meeting is long overdue. We have not been involved in any of the meetings leading up to her starting her special school or when she was finally given her EHCP (Statement). No information is every offered by exw and we only sometimes get told if we push for information.

youarenotkiddingme you sound like you're doing a great job and have boundaries. Exw just wants to be dsd friend and lets her pretty much do whatever she wants. It's not just been since she was a teen. Dsd was hospitalized in 2014 when she had just turned 11 for attempting to take her own life. It was then that she told my dh that dsd had been emailing inappropriate messages to older men. That's when we really started policing her accounts as we had no idea before that that she even had her own YouTube Chanel and Facebook page! When we looked at it we couldn't believe she was talking about coming out as a transgender f to m and asking for money so she could go and visit her girlfriend in America!

Exw isn't a single parent as she was cheating on dh with her current partner and they have since had a son (now 6) and are marrying next year.

DSD is very clever and obviously has been able to just look at anything she likes which is why she knows so much. she's also really shot up this year (is now taller than both me and dh) and dyes her hair so can look much older than she is. But she's still very much a socially immature little girl in a very vulnerable position. We feel this has been waiting to happen considering her history, but despite sharing our concerns they haven't been taken seriously.

The only things that have prevented her from having completed limitless access was that she broke her old phone and threw her laptop during a meltdown so broke the screen. This Christmas she was given both a new laptop and phone and we have had to seize them both the day she arrived because of what we found.

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