16 yr old wants to meet up with online friend(24 Posts)
My 16 yr old daughter has just announced she has met a boy online and she intends to visit him. He is 20 and lives a couple of hours away and she wants to go on the train on her own for a weekend. This has so many red flags for me and I am not sure how I can stop her! She has a job so can afford to pay for it and I fear that if I say no she will just go anyway and tell me she is with another friend.
I have so far asked her for his parents details as he lives at home apparently and his address and suggested a tracking app on her phone but I really do t want her going for a weekend.
I am not sure who to talk to, what to say so any help is needed please. Anyone been though this???
First of all, it's good that she's being out in the open to you about it. I've heard of so many cases where the parent isn't told at all. So she's behaving responsibly in that respect, and it probably wouldn't hurt to tell her you appreciate that.
I haven't been in exactly the same situation, as my dd1 was 14 when she wanted to meet her online friend, the friend was a 16 yr old girl rather than a 'boyfriend' (is that what this is?), and her father had insisted on accompanying her to our hometown, where they'd arranged to meet. Dh took dd1 to the meeting place, met online friend and her Dad, and once they'd confirmed that everyone was who they said they were, the girls were left to it.
Obviously your situation was very different, but the key was to get across that we weren't going to stop her - we were trying to make it happen and would help her to do it, but it had to be all above board and done in the safest possible way. Would it be possible for you to say hello to this lad over Skype? I might even ask to say hello to his Mum, as your dd is still so young and there's a bit of an age gap. Could you go along with her? Basically, a decent lad will understand and respect your precautions. You might explain to her that the lad needs to be protected as well.
Thanks. Yes she thinks he is her boyfriend but has not really had any other boyfriends before. But she is old enough to know what's what!!!
I totally get what you are saying about making sure that we acknowledge our gratitude that she is telling us. But we need to keep her safe. I need to find some way of getting her to understand she needs to meet up with him for a day first before staying over as at the moment she thinks I am just being mean!
I am going to try and talk to her about having a Skype chat tomorrow.
I've got a 16yo and wouldn't be happy with her meeting up with a 20yo, less so if it was someone who I had never met and lived a train ride away.
I'm assuming that they have never met face to face? So she doesn't really "know" him at all.
I'm afraid I would be concerned that without them having met he could be mistrepresenting himself ie he could be much older, not live with his parents etc. She would be very vulnerable if she wasn't who he said he is, she would be miles from home.
I think it's very unwise.
Of course he could be exactly what he says he is and they may have struck up a genuine friendship and if he is genuinely a nice person he won't object some basic safety rules.
Can he come to your house ? If he's living with his parents it wouldn't be much different. It would allow you and her to meet him on her turf and if it all went wrong she would be in a safe environment rather than a few hours away in an unfamiliar town with someone she had never met before.
How does she know how old he is?
OP you could call childline 0800 1111 and ask their advice or take a look at the NSPCC website
Do everything you can to prevent her going. This is just too dangerous to allow.
Tbh even if he is a 20 yo bloke it doesn't mean everything else he's said or done is true.
I met up with online friends as a teenager. Except my parents and hers came too and we met in a large shopping centre. Our parents stayed with us for a bit then let us wander off.
We subsequently got together a few times unsupervised, but always with permission. I was 16.
There was a case relatively recently where it a went wrong. Might be worth asking your daughter to have a read just so she can understand why you might be worried.Breck Bednar murder
Obvs its an extreme but it does go to show it's not just people pretending to be younger etc to be aware of. Genuinely young people are not necessarily safe either.
This would be a stupid idea if she were 30 let alone 16. First rule of meeting someone off the internet is to do it in a busy public place.
Show your DD the CEOP website www.thinkuknow.co.uk/14_plus/Need-advice/Online-dating/ and the list of rules for meeting up safely, one of which is taking a trusted adult. If her friend is genuine, he won't have a problem with it. If he does, well, he's not who she thought he was.
I'd suggest to her that even assuming he's 100% genuine, you really don't know how you'll get on in person until you meet up. I've done a fair bit of online dating in the past (until I met my now-DH through it ). All the guys I met up with seemed genuine, but I really didn't know until I met them whether we'd really click at all. Most times we didn't and a couple of hours chatting was ample to know this. A weekend would have been awful.
If you're chatting over email it's not a real relationship. You 'relationship' is with a fantasy person not a real one as you're imagining so much about the other person.
I'd see if you can encourage her to visit as a day trip at first and see how it goes. 2 hours away is quite doable as a day trip. If she's pushing against that it might be better to suggest he comes to visit her instead, as that way she'd be closer to home and easier to stay safe.
Online dating sites all have safety advice which you could show her to show it's not just you being anxious parents or treating her as a child, it's advice given to anyone meeting up with people you've met online. If she's becoming a responsible adult, she should be showing you she knows how to keep herself safe.
I was this teenager in a past life. I was perfectly behaved otherwise, but when I had my own money I used to travel around meeting and staying with my online friends (even abroad ) and there was nothing my parents could have done to stop me.
My parents did take me to some meetings, and let some of my friends stay with us. Is this something you'd be okay with so at least you could check him out?
Thanks for all your help and suggestions. I will look at the links tomorrow and talk to her again.
Really appreciate it all xx
What if you offered to pay the full train fare and lunch for both, on condition she comes back same evening? He's probably fine, but people lie all the time online. She can't argue with that. She can go for a whole weekend on her own dime, next time. Find a day for her to go when she has another reason to be back, like if she has to work the next day.
Not a fucking chance. Everything Giraffe said with knobs on.
I would personally follow my daughter or at least go to where she is if she's in trouble least your not hours away from her as she's 16 this 20 year old isn't doing anything wrong she is legal in the eye of the law xx
I have a 20 year old DS and cannot imagine what he would have in common with a 16 year old girl.
I would insist on speaking to his parents (who I suspect are blissfully unaware). Then I would think about inviting him to visit your DD for the day.
If suggest they meet in the middle and you go with her.
As PP's have said if he's genuine then they will have no issues.
I agree many many red flags here.
Safeguarding is part of my job and THIS situation is exactly what we try to warn our youngsters about.
show her all this, tell her what happened to that poor boy. She needs to realise that this is a stupid risk for ANYONE to take.
if he's real, he won't mind proving himself.
Gosh no way! Would not be happening. She's never met him yet is planning to spend the weekend with him? I would not allow that
Oh no, wouldn't happen.
I'm judging him and his parents (assuming they know about this) already.
If my DS at age 20 said "hey mum, I've met this 16 yo girl online, she's coming to stay for the weekend" he'd be getting told she most certainly is not, amongst other things.
Do you really think she will go anyway, or that she'll listen to you if you explain the risks. It seems very odd than a 20 year old man is interested in a 16 year old girl. The age gap is big at that juncture (there is 4 years between me and dh but we met in our 20s, big difference).
Perhaps, as others have said, if she is insistent on meeting him at some stage, invite him down to yours for the day so you can check him out. Much safer to meet on her turf for a start. I so hope my teen girl never wants to do this!!
I would offer to drive her, explain why you are worried and ask to go for a lunch with him and his parents when you get there, or to lunch in the same resturant as them.
I presume she has skyped so knows what he looks like. If she hasn't insist on something.
Explain she is almost an adult but as you have been meeting/getting to know people longer you are just better at spotting possible worries (use example like sport, playing instrument of getting better the more you do stuff).
And with staying over i would have a huge chat about consent/obligation, that there is no obligation in consent she doen't "owe" him anything because she is staying over at his, or if he comes to her "because he came all this way".
Ask where she thinks she will be sleeping, is he aware of this (if she wants her own bed)
mention where she thinks she will be sleeping, is he aware of her plans (don't want an answer far too embarrasing).
You can't stop her going as everyone is meeting people online (how popular is online dating?) but teach her how to do it safely.
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