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Older man contacting teen DS, not sure what to do

(61 Posts)
Muddlewitch Sat 20-Feb-16 17:52:12

This is a bit of an odd one, so apologies in advance if it's a bit long.

DS is very nearly 16, has SEN/mental health issues so is a bit vulnerable although very bright.

DS has a particular hobby/interest (he has fixations that last a while then another takes it's place) along the lines of train spotting or bird watching. He belongs to online forums/email groups about the hobby, as does another adult family member.

This afternoon I had a message request from a man on FB saying he needed to contact me. He also sent a friend request but I didn't accept that as I don't know him. After quite a long winded message exchange it transpires this man has been in contact with my DS recently through this hobby forum. They were messaging regularly through FB and now the man is upset that my DS has suddenly blocked him when they were getting along 'so fantastically.'

I do not know this man, but his name, public FB page, manner of writing etc all suggest he is at least my age if not older. He says he was planning a visit to see DS and do this hobby later in the year and he is dreadfully upset that might not happen as they had arranged it all. I knew nothing of this. He keeps saying how well they get on and that he doesn't want 'it all to go to waste.' He wants me to talk to DS to get him to unblock him, and to make contact with me as that 'seemed like the right thing to do before he visits.'

It's freaked me out, though I am torn between thinking he is dodgy as fuck and thinking that if he was he wouldn't be contacting me to tell me about it all, and that perhaps he is a bit vulnerable himself. Hobby is such that it has appeal for Asperger's type personalities like DS so could be a social boundaries issue I suppose.

This man has sent lots of messages this afternoon, my only response has been that I will check DS is ok but he keeps messaging saying how much it means to him, how I need to 'please please' help him sort it out. And reassuring me he is not dodgy and it's just because they get on so well and have so much in common. hmm I'm feeling really quite disturbed by it.

Haven't spoken to DS yet as other DC are about and think it would be better once they are in bed, and not sure how to broach it at all or if I should be doing anything else.

Am an LP so no one to discuss this with and would really appreciate any thoughts.

FellOutOfBedTwice Sat 20-Feb-16 17:56:33

Yeah, that's dodgy as fuck. Even if it's just because he's got social difficulties of his own. I would just block him yourself, I think. Sorry if that's just blunt and horrible but even reading about it has given me the heebie jeebies.

cashewnutty Sat 20-Feb-16 17:58:03

Obviously your DS no longer wants to be in contact with this man for whatever reason and it would be useful to find out from him why this is. In the meantime i think i would tell the man that you cannot do as he asks and then also block him. If might be dodgy or it might not. Trust your instincts.

HeadJudgeLen Sat 20-Feb-16 17:58:45

You block him to the far side of fuck and explain to your ds that not every one is as nice as they pretend to be. He might be upset but that is better than the alternative. You need to protect your DS.

lljkk Sat 20-Feb-16 18:00:05

Odd way to get in touch if he's got nefarious plans in his relationship with your DS. Creeps don't normally ask mom for permission. Maybe they really just share mutual passions & social awkwardness? Not every older man is a predator.

I think I'd ask my DS to lead... it's his friendship to let die if he wants, or if he thinks the guy is someone he wants to stay in touch with.

Katisha Sat 20-Feb-16 18:02:05

Can you talk to the other member of the family on the forum?

WhoTheFuckIsSimon Sat 20-Feb-16 18:03:58

Tell your ds how proud you are that he blocked someone that he didn't feel comfortable about for whatever reason. This man obviously has an issue with respecting boundaries. Block him.

ImperialBlether Sat 20-Feb-16 18:04:43

Wow, that is really creepy. Lljkk, not every older man is a predator, but that is really dodgy that an older man should be so persistent. It's odd that someone older would even want a friendship with someone so young.

ImperialBlether Sat 20-Feb-16 18:04:43

Wow, that is really creepy. Lljkk, not every older man is a predator, but that is really dodgy that an older man should be so persistent. It's odd that someone older would even want a friendship with someone so young.

whatevva Sat 20-Feb-16 18:05:01

Odd way to get in touch if he's got nefarious plans in his relationship with your DS I always thought it was pretty well standard to get parents onside, when acting nefariously hmm

Your son has made his decision - back him up and find out why when he can tell you.

steppemum Sat 20-Feb-16 18:05:54

It reads to me as if he has social issues, thought he had found a friend and now doesn't understand why ds is blocking him.

I think if he was grooming he wouldn't have gone through you.

I think I would reply being very blunt.

ds is a teenager. You are an adult, much older than him. It is not appropriate for you to have this close a friendship with someone of ds age, even if you share a hobby. You need to keep this friendship in a group, or on a group site.

That way you are actually helping him to see the social boundary. If he is genuine, he still needs to back off. I am guessing that ds has blocked him because he was getting to overpowering some way?

scarlets Sat 20-Feb-16 18:06:27

What has your son said about it?

AnyFucker Sat 20-Feb-16 18:08:03

That is very disturbing, especially with the persistence of this bloke

There will be a very good reason your DS blocked him. Ask him about that and back him up. You could also contact CEOPS for some advice.

LongHardStare Sat 20-Feb-16 18:09:14

I would report to CEOP - there's an online form linked here:
"https://www.ceop.police.uk/safety-centre/11-16/"

Totally appropriate to do this over a stranger you're uncomfortable about making inappropriate suggestions to meet up with your DS and being pushy about it.

If it turns out to be completely innocent then no harm done and good for this guy to hear that his behaviour is crossing a line.

I would be very careful how you discuss with your DS. You don't want him to think the guy must be OK, if you as his mum, are happily talking to him.

I wouldn't just block and ignore as that won't bring to light if the guy is dodgy or give you a chance to reiterate internet safety with your DS.

Muddlewitch Sat 20-Feb-16 18:12:29

I haven't spoken to DS about it yet as it's literally happened in the last couple of hours, and my other younger children are also here so I think it would be better to wait until they are in bed when I can speak to DS alone.

DS has recent issues with depression and self harm (I posted about it on here just before Xmas) so I think I need to be careful how I approach it. Having said that, DS' mood has been good and stable in recent weeks. I have no intention of encouraging him to engage with the man and am glad he has blocked him but the whole thing is worrying me.

Branleuse Sat 20-Feb-16 18:12:53

what steppewolf said

Squashybanana Sat 20-Feb-16 18:17:36

I agree with Steppemum. It sounds like he has social understanding difficulties and thought DS was a great buddy but has come on far too strong and scared him. I would also respond (with some compassion) and then block. I would check if DS has given home town, address etc as it may be that this guy could turn up. In fact I'd warn him not too.

'I am sure your approaches are genuine, but my son has felt uncomfortable enough to feel he has to block you. He is only a teenager and it is not appropriate, I am sure you understand, in this day and age for an older man such as yourself to continue to pursue him if he has chosen to end the friendship, however upset you might feel. You understand that in these days of Internet grooming etc young people are told not to meet online friends and I am proud that my son has put a boundary in place when he felt uncomfortable. Unfortunately you will have to respect that boundary, and I am sorry if that causes you distress. However if there is any further attempts at contact I will have to report your conduct to the appropriate agencies.

KimmySchmidtsSmile Sat 20-Feb-16 18:23:50

So it's an online forum rather than an actual active meet-up group. So it is easier then for your son to have no contact. Find out what info has been swapped already. This man talked about visiting - does he have your home address? Find out why your son blocked him. If turns out was dodgy then contact police. If not and he was just very needy, message exactly what steppemum suggests ^ and then block him. Problem solved.
If your son is under a pseudonym on the site get him to change his username. Tell him to be aware of any new friend requests on fb, try monitoring his fb the next few months.

AnyFucker Sat 20-Feb-16 18:24:41

Far too apologetic. Why do we worry so about offending people who cross our boundaries ?

AnyFucker Sat 20-Feb-16 18:27:50

A more appropriate message to this bloke would be : "After this message you are blocked because your behaviour is inappropriate. If you attempt any further from of contact the police will be informed."

ProfGrammaticus Sat 20-Feb-16 18:27:53

Because it is likely that he is vulnerable too and some of us are nice people? It is perfectly possible to be firm and clear without being rude. Indeed that is the aim for many of us.

AnyFucker Sat 20-Feb-16 18:28:21

*form

AnyFucker Sat 20-Feb-16 18:30:44

This bloke hinted he was going to make contact with op's son in person despite him making it clear that was not welcome by blocking him..

Politeness is not required here.

miaowli Sat 20-Feb-16 18:31:06

No, not every older man is a predator, but an older man who persists in pursuing a friendship with a younger man who has blocked him, would raise a huge red flag for me.

Squashybanana Sat 20-Feb-16 18:37:36

AnyF because my son has aspergers and he has friends who would genuinely not understand this boundary. He still needs blocking and warning but IF he has autism it would actually be far more helpful to give him a reason so he can understand what has happened. This is much more likely to lead to him stopping any pursuit if he understands WHY. Simply blocking him, if he has a particular manifestation of autism, will only redouble his efforts to 'prove' he means no harm because he won't understand why a 'friend' has blocked him.

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