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To Sam

I think she's dating a peadofile

Im really worried about my friend, she met a man on bbm and she's been dating him over it. Im really scared she will meet up with him, what do i do?
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Sam

Hi there,

Thanks for your letter. It sounds like you are very worried about your friend and are thinking about ways you can help her, so it’s great you have come to get some support from ChildLine.

The ways that people can meet and communicate has changed a lot over recent years. That means that more people are now starting friendships and relationships online, or by messaging services such as BBM. For some people, this can be a really great way to meet new people but it is also important to be aware of some of the risks. Sometimes people might not be who they say they are, or might want to take advantage of children.

You haven’t said how old the man is, but if he is a lot older than your friend then it might be dangerous for your friend to meet up with him. Perhaps you could talk with your friend about your worries to make sure that both you and your friend know enough about him before she meets up with him. If your friend does decide she would like to meet him, it’s important she is aware of the risks and knows how to keep herself safe. Some ways to do this are:

  • Perhaps taking someone along who will either be close by or coming along where they meet up.
  • Meeting up in a public place with lots of other people around like a café or shopping centre.
  • Telling someone where they are going, what time they plan to get there and when they will leave.
  • Taking a mobile phone and knowing who to call if they don’t feel safe, either the police on 999 or a trusted adult.

You can find out some more information on Think U Know which tells you how to keep safe and what to do if you don’t feel safe. Perhaps you could look over this with your friend too.

ChildLine counsellors will always be here to support both you and your friend, and there is lots of support on the message boards too. You can get in touch with ChildLine either by phoning on 0800 1111 or logging on to 1-2-1 chat. Well done for looking out for your friend.

Take care,

Sam

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