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Internet Safety: A Mother's Story Of How A Paedophile Groomed Her 11-year-old Daughter Online


Tired of the endless rows, Hannah H finally gave in to the demands from her 11-year-old daughter to have a Facebook account. Little did she know that she had opened the door to a paedophile who lived in her town – and the events that followed were life-changing. She explains how easily he gained her daughter's trust and how little she knew about protecting her online


You have many jobs as a parent: to provide, to educate, to show love. The list goes on, but fundamentally the most important job of all is to keep your child safe. I failed to do that and I can’t turn back the clock; I can’t erase what happened and I have to live with it every day and accept it. It’s not a good feeling.


I love the internet, everything about it. I love the thrill of all that colossal information at my fingertips. We can book a dental appointment, arrange a date, plan a world tour, get a degree – all from the comfort of our own sofas. Technology is our future and I understand the importance of making sure our children are highly skilled in this digital age. But the harsh reality is this: unless you are going to supervise your children 100 per cent of the time while online, they are not safe.


I was a social worker specialising in working with vulnerable children when it happened in 2012 and I thought I was pretty clued up when it came to child protection. I didn’t want my daughter to have Facebook: the legal age is 13 and she was still only 11. Her older sister had it and all the kids at school were talking about it; she said she felt left out. She would pester me daily: “It’s not fair, Maddy has it, Kate has it, why can’t I have it? Please mum please mum please mum.”

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