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Asker

To Sam

Long distance/online

this is about a boy i met online through a friend from my school and its been 3 months since we met online and we’ve been talking all day everyday. I know some people online might not be who they say they are but this boy is real and i know it because we facetime and send selfies etc via snapchat. He is 16 and lives two hours away from me and at this time that seems so long away and im 14. Getting to the main point, basically we have been talking about how we want to meet up for the first time! but im scared to tell my mum about this relationship just in case she doesnt let me go and it‘ll be ruined because i really want this to work! he treats me well, understands me a lot, calls me pretty even when i think i look really ugly. I honestly want this to work and for us both to be happy so any advice on what to do?

Ask Sam

Sam

Hi there,

It’s difficult to know who you can trust online. There are lots of honest people who wouldn’t lie about who they are but there are also people who could be dangerous. When someone older tries to make friends with a young person they may want things from you in return for their friendship. This is called grooming and is something to be aware of when you’re talking to people online.

I can’t tell you if this person is safe or not. Like most things online, the best person to judge if something is safe is yourself. It’s difficult to know whether someone you’ve met online is dangerous so you should always be cautious and not take any unnecessary risks. Every situation is different and it’s important to be able to recognise the signs in case you are being groomed. One sign would be if he wanted you to keep this a secret – anyone genuine should be fine with people like your parents knowing about your relationship.

Talking to your mum might feel hard but it’s important that you do – especially before meeting up with anyone online. You said you met this person through a friend from your school -  you could arrange with your parents for you and your friend to meet them together for the first few times. It may be a good idea to meet in a busy public place like a coffee shop or shopping centre.

You could make a safety plan with your parents. You could have a code word you text or say that lets them know you’re okay and one that tells them you’re not and may need picking up. There are some more safety tips here from Brook around staying safe.

Remember you can always talk to us: our counsellors are here to listen and support you.

Take care

Sam

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