The Internet, Facebook, and other social media outlets have created an unsafe environment for unsuspecting young adults, and in some cases, older adults, of the dangers of interacting on-line with individuals they have never met.
Although the case happened in England, it is becoming far too common in other countries and the United States is of no exception.
With the support of Kayleigh’s family, Leicestershire Police made a film about aspects of the last two weeks of Kayleigh’s life.
“In memory of Kayleigh and to protect all of our children, please pledge your support to help stop this this appalling crime which sees vulnerable young people deliberately targeted and preyed upon. We all have a responsibility to help tackle it, “said Leicestershire Police.
Kayleigh Haywood began speaking to Luke Harlow, a man she had never met, on 31 October 2015. Over the course of 13 days they exchanged 2643 messages. Harlow told the 15-year-old all the things many teenage girls want to hear. He told her she was beautiful, how much he cared for her and that she was special.
Harlow was grooming Kayleigh, along with two other young girls he had also been speaking to. But it was Kayleigh that finally agreed to his requests to spend the night of Friday, November 13, 2015 at his house.
She spent the next day with him too, and in the early hours of Sunday 15 November, having been held against her will by Harlow and by his next door neighbor Stephen Beadman, Kayleigh was raped and murdered by Beadman.
Kayleigh’s Love Story is as a warning to young people, both girls and boys, about the dangers of speaking to people they don’t know online, “Leicestershire Police said. “The film highlights just how quick and easy it can be for children to be groomed online without them or those around them knowing it is happening. Its purpose is to protect children now and in the future and to stop another family losing a child in this way.”
It’s vital that young people understand the importance of staying safe online and parents can spot the signs that may indicate their child is being groomed. There is a fact sheet for a parent that contains information about online grooming and the tell-tale signs and behaviors.
This ranges from information for young people about online grooming, where to go for support if you think you have been a victim of online grooming or sexual exploitation and advice for parents, careers and businesses on signs to look out for.
The film lasts around five and a half minutes and is available to view now. The film was made by Affixxius Films in Loughborough and was shot in various locations across Leicestershire and in Nottingham. The film and the trailer both contain warnings.
Leicestershire Police stated that the story and video, since September has been shown to thousands of schoolchildren across Leicester, Leicestershire, and Rutland by a team of specially trained Police Community Support Officers and that the roll-out will continue in 2017.
The United States educational system should commit to do the same in showing this story and video.
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