Exmouth: warning to parents after girl sent X-rated pic

PUBLISHED: 17:38 23 May 2017 | UPDATED: 17:39 23 May 2017

The image was sent over Snapchat (stock photo).

The image was sent over Snapchat (stock photo).

Archant

A 12-year-old girl was sent an explicit photograph by a stranger, prompting her Exmouth mum to urge parents to check their children’s social media accounts and to contact police if their youngsters have received pornographic images.

An X-rated photograph sent to a 12-year-old schoolgirl by a stranger has prompted her Exmouth mum to urge parents to check if their children have also been targeted.

The girl received the photo of male genitals through Snapchat – image messaging that can only be viewed for a short time – by someone she first believed was at her school.

The culprit who sent the photograph is now thought to have been a total stranger – and much older. And it is thought he has previously sent explicit photos and videos to other underage girls.

The parent said police told her their hands were tied until more victims came forward because of the complexity of identifying the culprit and pinpointing their location.

The mum is urging parents to check their children’s social media accounts and to contact police if they have received pornographic photos.

The parent said her daughter was ‘quite savvy’, adding: “We talk about internet safety a lot. Luckily, she had her wits about her and didn’t open it and told me. I am glad she was protected from the image, but I felt quite sick. She was quite upset that evening – disturbed that someone would do that. It seems that he’s targeted quite a few girls at her school; her friends have told her.

“But the police won’t take that information from me, only from the other parents. I would like parents to look through their child’s contacts and conversations and check their child knows these people, that they are who they say they are and get rid of anyone they don’t know.

“We have had another chat about only accepting people she actually knows, regardless of whether she has mutual friends with someone.”

The schoolgirl chatted to the ‘lad’ through social media after spotting he was linked to her friends. On Sunday, she refused several messages from the ‘boy’, requesting she look at a photo of his genitals. He sent another message, urging her to look, claiming it contained ‘important information’. She passed the phone to her mum, who opened the explicit photo.

“As a mum I felt quite sick,” said the parent. “It’s illegal, sending a child an indecent picture, however it is masqueraded.”

A police spokesperson said officers ‘frequently receive complaints related to social media activity’, adding: “Any action taken would need to be proportionate to the level of threat or harm posed. We would definitely encourage all parents ensure they and their children have taken the time to learn how to stay safe on the internet and use social media responsibly and what action to take if they have any concerns, which includes reporting inappropriate content to the organisation concerned.”

If you believe your child has been targeted, or if you have information to help police, call 101, crime number CR/037068/17.


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