Warning issued to parents after Aylsham schoolboy targeted by suspected sex predator

Aylsham High School. Picture: MARK BULLIMORE

Aylsham High School. Picture: MARK BULLIMORE

Special assemblies are also being planned to warn pupils of the dangers of online grooming.


Special assemblies are being planned at a school in North Norfolk this week to warn children of the dangers of online grooming after a pupil was targeted by a suspected sex predator.

Aylsham High School has also written to every parent and carer to remind them to remain vigilant when their child is on the internet to keep them safe.

It follows concerns over a fake account set up on social-networking site Facebook, by the name of Holly Goodyear, which targeted young boys and befriended them before requesting indecent images.

The school made the move after being alerted to the incident - which happened outside of school time - by the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (CEOP).

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In the letter, signed by Mrs J Ward and Mr S Askew, both Directors of Learning at Aylsham, it states: 'A serious concern has been raised about a Facebook account under the name of 'Holly Goodyear'. CEOP are in the process of liasing with the company to have the account closed, but the nature of social media is that it will be rapidly opened under another name, if the creator of the page is not already using multiple aliases.

'The owner of the site is specifically targeting young boys, befriending and in a typical grooming fashion, moving the content to a sexual nature with requests for indecent images to be exchanged.

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'We know that many parents find it difficult to approach sex and relationship issues related to the internet with their child, often feeling that they are out of their depth with the technology but, whilst we run a programme of online safety at school, that may not be enough to keep children safe from online hazards.'

The school has reminded parents that their child should not have a Facebook account until they are at least 13 years old but warned they could also be at risk through multi-player online gaming.

The letter continues: 'It has not been our intention to scare anyone but it is better to be aware of any potential issues related specifically to this event.

'It is possible for sexual predators to groom children through many of the popular games that children access. However, most of these contacts will be genuine and we are not suggesting that children should be stopped from playing them.'

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