We must do all we can to stamp out internet grooming

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A growing number of young people appear to be victims of grooming without realising it. Inexperienced young people don’t understand how to deal with it.

Those who build an emotional or sexual attachment with a child have the ability to be incredibly manipulative so a youngster can be ushered into an environment in which they may not necessarily be comfortable, and in some extreme cases, unable to escape. Often oblivious to the fact they are being groomed, many young people continue because it is a new and unusual thing to do.

Earlier this year we heard the terrible story of 14-year-old Breck Bednar, from Surrey, who was stabbed to death by Lewis Daynes, then 18, in his Essex flat last year. Breck was recognised as a polite and caring Christian boy. Loved by those around him he continues to be missed. Nobody suspected that the then 18-year-old, who is now behind bars, would have it in him to be a killer.

Everything that happened didn’t prevent the teenager from becoming a victim of this dreadful attack.

News reports also state that Breck’s mother was concerned her son was involved in grooming through the change in his behaviour. And she was limited with what she could do other than tell the police.

The acknowledgement that there are thousands of others who are being groomed is appalling. The vulnerability and the limited understanding of how to recognise when someone is being groomed should be addressed.

The interent is doing much good in the world, but it is also triggering terrible things. With a rise in dating websites, rating apps and public video chat forums, there is a whole variety of sites youngsters can try.

To meet and speak to someone you haven’t met online in a private and enclosed environment is just not sensible.

It is now a fact that we can’t prevent people from meeting others. Although, it is important where the initial stages take place.

Meeting people for the first time should happen in open and public spaces. Little bits of advice such as this should be wired into the minds of youngsters.

Let’s not see a rise in the number of children who are being abused because of the corrupt world in which we live. Stand by those who are being taken advantage of and do all you can to prevent it from happening. We should all report anything we feel might be grooming and do all we can to stamp it out.