Every parent needs to hear this story of Instagram grooming

13 February 2020, 08:01

This caller told how her 13-year-old was secretly groomed on Instagram - and it's a story that every parent needs to hear.

Tracy called from Bournemouth to tell the alarming story of what happened to her son when he had his own phone.

Not only had he been groomed using direct messages on Instagram to send videos and images of him performing intimate acts, but the person also taught him how to install VPN settings to ensure he wasn't caught.

She urged all parents to pay closer attention to what their children are doing online.

In an emotional call to Shelagh Fogarty, she said: "When he was 13, we made a rather shocking discovery. When he got a new handset and asked me to sell his old one, I went to back up his photos and found lots of unsavoury videos of him performing acts, lots of photos. I was rather shocked.

"He was being groomed, but not in the visible way, this was all on Instagram via direct messaging.

"What they were doing is saying 'Here is an image of me, if you want to see more, then send me an image of yourself.' There were hundreds of these messages on the phone.

Shelagh Fogarty heard a shocking story about grooming on Instagram
Shelagh Fogarty heard a shocking story about grooming on Instagram. Picture: PA / LBC

"We thought we were tech savvy. We've got porn filters on the router. But they get hold of the children and they coach them on how to download VPNs - Virtual Private Networks - so you can get underneath the filters.

"It all happened in a period of six weeks. I used to work in a school, so I was adamant that this wasn't going to happen to my kids, but it happened so fast."

At least the story has a satisfying ending: "He's had counselling and he's a lovely boy and we're alright now."

It's a story every parent needs to hear. Watch it at the top of the page.