A MUM has spoken out about her child being groomed by online sex predators – just 17 months after a teenager from the same area killed himself after falling victim to webcam blackmail.
The stunned parent from Dunfermline in Fife has revealed her 14-year-old daughter was ‘sexting’ with a group of men who repeatedly asked to meet with her.
She says the true extent of the online abuse is still being uncovered by police who now have the phone but at one point the girl sent images of herself without underwear.
The mum only learnt about the grooming after discovering her daughter had a secret mobile phone.
The teenager is from the same area as Daniel Perry, the 17-year old who tragically killed himself after he became the the victim of a webcam blackmail plot.
A gang had tricked him into sharing intimate images online then threatened to show the video to his family and friends, unless he paid them off.
Speaking to a local paper the mother, who asked not to be named, said: “These messages have been going on since November and we didn’t have a clue.
“There were different conversations with men and pictures of an adult nature. It was unbelieveable.
“The pictures left nothing to the imagination. They were asking her to send them ‘nudes’ with no underwear on and she had sent them those.
“How can people do that to a child? You could see she was young, not older than a lassie.”
She continued: “They were feeding her questions, asking to meet her and calling her nice things and saying they could pick her up.
“She had got engrossed in it and there were other names on it as well, asking ‘Are you going to meet him?’
“She’s quite childlike and that’s why it was such a shock to see what she was saying in those conversations.”
“I was so angry and upset and disappointed. the more I read the messages the angrier I got.
“We’re a bit strict with the internet – the children are allowed to go online but supervised.
“She had got the phone off a friend and put all these apps on it and got WiFi without us knowing about it.
“When she unlocked the phone, she tried to delete stuff off it and on some of the sites you only get to see part of the conversation.
“She was embarrassed because the police came and interviewed her and she had to answer some hard questions.
“The police say they will be able to get fully into the phone to see how far it’s gone but what I’ve seen there already has made me sick enough.”
“It could happen to any family. Some parents don’t seem to be bothered what their children do online.
“We’ve sat her down and told her to talk to us. It’s embarrassing but you don’t want it to get to a point where you feel you can’t talk about it anymore.
“If we hadn’t found her phone how far would it have gone? Would she not have come home one day?”
It was in July 2013 when 17-year-old Daniel Perry, also from Dunfermline, fell from the Forth Road Bridge.
The teenager had been trapped into taking part in online Skype conversations with someone he believed was a girl of the same age.
But when a recording of the call was used to try to blackmail him he decided life was no longer worth living.
Enquiries by detectives from Police Scotland revealed an electronic online trail, which led to the Philippines and links to organised crime groups there.
Recently police in Fife have been warning parents to be vigilant following a spike in reports of online abuse.
Dunfermline based Sergeant Brian Henderson said: “Unfortunately, we regularly receive reports from distressed families regarding inappropriate behaviour online.
“For example ‘Sexting’ is an increasingly common activity.”
He continued: “Most young people don’t see ‘Sexting’ as a problem and it has become commonplace, often they won’t share any arising issues for fear of being judged.
“However it is a harmful trend, children and young people become vulnerable and open to bullying and the sharing of images becomes hard to control.”