How to expose a pedophile?
anonysaurusrex · 14/01/2020 04:29
Of course, the title is provocative and this may be testament to my own social engineering skills. But it's a legitimate question, so let me explain...
Before I do, let me just say I'm a father, so I hope this question is going to get a broad range of views in line with the increasing diversity among frequenters of mumsnet these days. And there's a bit of backstory so you may want to stick the kettle on or move on.
So I had a child at the somewhat young age of 22. A daughter. She's now 11. Her mother was 18 at the time. Our situation - as a couple - was worlds apart from anyone we could and still to this day can relate to...she was in the armed forces for starters, and I wasn't - which meant we were going against the grain of the enshrined standard even of 2007/2008. Pioneers of equality and evidence of inequality we were. Anyways, skip forward a very turbulent relationship between us which we did our best to put our differences aside for our daughter, combined we managed to raise a very intelligent, polite, well mannered and socially acceptable child. Well I can't really skip over everything. If I did then that wouldn't give true context to what I'm looking for advice for. We married when our daughter was 4, during a less turbulent and more honest time in our relationship, and we separated when she was 7. Her mother was diagnosed with bipolar disorder in 2015 which seemed to have been brought about either coincidentally by age, or by her experiences in the forces during a deployment to Afghanistan. The trouble we went through was abhorrent, and the strain it put on our family eventually led to me walking away in order to protect my daughter. My daughter was subject to much emotional abuse (to be frank), and I did my absolute best with support from various agencies and social services to keep it all together and maintain a "normal" environment and life for my child. As normal as it could be, anyway. I'm fortunate that my child is incredibly resilient, and was able to continue to be an overachiever in school despite being the youngest in her year, and quite simply be a genuinely true, loving and caring individual.
I kept custody of her, and continued as a full-time-working single parent. Over the course of 2-3 years, I developed a serious drink problem, and all of the principals and motivations I had eventually became second to my addiction to alcohol. Meanwhile, my estranged wife's health substantially improved, and with the help of a doctor-instigated intervention by social services, my daughter went to live with her mother.
So, why is any of this relevant? Well, today, first and foremost I'm pleased to say that I well in to recovery from my issues. The bumpy road is a little more slick at least. More importantly, my priorities are in order and despite being largely absent for a year, and I'm very much back to being the parent I was, albeit the now "part-time" version.
Today, my ex-wife - who in my view is doing a pretty good job and is working full time too - pressed me to reinforce her authority over an issue in which she decided to confiscate my daughter's phone after finding she had continued to use Instagram after she had been banned from it. Trying to be considerate of both the importance of solidarity between parents in issues of discipline and of the correct methods of exercising discipline, I told my ex that I would talk to her and that I would try to understand why she is so drawn to the use of social media applications even at the threat of punishment. She took this the wrong way and went off on one, as if my response were some criticism of her approach, which it wasn't. Only then did she share with me the real reason why she banned her from using it in the first place. While I thought it was general exercise of some guidance and enforcement of the appropriateness of our daughter's choices of activities online, it turned out she was witness to my daughter participating in some "role play" with a group of people which involved "daddy" entering their bedroom, and "slapping thighs" and the mention of "cum". I'm paraphrasing and all of this is second hand...I haven't seen these messages for myself, but I soon will. She didn't say what my daughter's participation was however, so I assume it was little-to-none.
Now I'm not an expert on these matters but this kind of role play so far as I proclaim to understand would be (1) of a tragically abused or mentally unstable child, or (2) the grooming tactics of a pedophile.
We have both been teaching our daughter the importance of internet safety, and she certainly is not naive enough to go along with something like this without having recognised the real possibility that the "ring leader" (if you like) is not in fact a young teenage or preteen girl, but in fact one of the very people which we have been warning her of. But she is only 11. From what I'm told, my daughter did not elude to her mother that she was there purely out of curiosity or some other "self-aware" or "safe" position she maintained, and I'm therefore led to believe that she indeed concluded that this person or these people are who they say they are. I do believe that the reason why she would stick around to chat to these people come from social anxiety stemming from moving house from an area she pretty much grew up in while she lived with me, to a relatively unfamiliar area when she moved to live with her mother, involving moving schools and country even, which is only 2 years ago. I think she feels she maintains better relationships online. Lots of people can relate to this, I'm sure.
So. I'm waiting for her mother to deliver her phone to me so I can see the extent of these messages for myself. The right to privacy is null and void as far as I'm concerned - given the circumstances. I will however address the issue - in whichever way that may be - in a carefully and calculated way. Honesty and trust are two of my own highest principals.
So here's the deal. I'm an IT professional, and people would probably call me an expert when it comes to security. I am actually quite proud to say I've hacked many a person and company, never for any financial gain or incentive...I was doing it from age 15 just because I could and I was securing the systems wherever I could while doing it. And nosing around a lot...meh...shoot me. So I'm quite confident that - should the people she has been chatting with be of the sort which us parents want locked up the most - I could quite easily take full control of this or these people's computers and find out exactly who they, and what their intentions are.
Hacking is something I'm quite open about with people, and it seems to be quite appealing to my daughter. I intend on teaching her everything I know, as long as she's wanting to learn, and...well...I wondered if this is an opportunity to kill two or three birds with one stone (metaphorically speaking). I could ignite a passion in her for technology and security, at the same time as enlightening her to the importance of listening to her parents, and expose a pedophile. Okay so I could just report this person to Instagram, or the police. Anyone who thinks this is going to result in a thorough investigation in to child grooming activity...I'm sorry but they're wrong. Conventional methods of catching pedophiles are completely outdated and ineffective. To catch a predator is pretty good, but it's against the law in my country. We have vigilantes doing a similar thing with minimal success.
I'm fully prepared to admit to breaking the law to protect my child, and other children out there, in the absence of adequate mechanisms within our public services. I will quite happily, flagrantly, and proudly stand in the face of a judge and explain to them what I've done and why (if it came to that)...but that's where I run in to the question, not of morality, but is this something that my daughter should be witness to?
What would you do?
orangesnapples · 14/01/2020 04:49
I think I would show her your findings, but you don't know what your going to find so would vet it first.
But yes I'd show her, teach her people are not always who they say they are, will also help in her trying to contact them behind your back.
Weffiepops · 14/01/2020 05:23
She might tell her friends, teacher might hear, safeguarding etc I would be tempted to show her after the event
blackcat86 · 14/01/2020 05:54
I would find out who they are and show her, never admit to hacking to do so and then hand over to police. If is also something she has done with friends then please talk to the school. Please also look at support for your daughter and ways to boost self esteem.
LynetteScavo · 14/01/2020 06:49
No, your daughter should not be involved in the hacking and exposure. She needs to be protected as much as possible. She may be bright but she's very young.
QOD · 14/01/2020 08:08
I think you need to take a step back from hacking and all that drama, spend time with your daughter explaining the danger she’s in and remember how much trauma that poor girl has been thru with her parents
She’s looking for attention where she can find it is my take on it
Poor kid has been thru a lot of change in her short life
Been there myself, you put yourself in danger because attention is attention and it doesn’t sound like she’s been top of anyone’s priorities for a while
Pinkyxx · 09/02/2020 21:10
I agree with @QOD Your DD sounds like a very frightened little girl crying out for help. The vigilante approach may feel appealing, but it won't help her nor will you orchestrating this do anything for her perception of right / wrong. Truthfully, I doubt anything you manage to find out would be admissible in a court, so has the potential to backfire spectacularly; even if I do agree in principle that traditional methods are woefully inadequate. Your DD been through a lot, and likely has had to grow up way to fast. Don't be fooled by her intellect, it sounds like her emotional development hasn't kept pace - which is very common in scenarios such as the one you describe. You've all been through a lot, but she's the child and needs to be parented and to feel safe.
To comment on this thread you need to create a Mumsnet account.