Dad shocked at 8-year-old daughter's online friendship with 30-something man 4 years ago

Dad shocked at 8-year-old daughter's online friendship with 30-something man

"You have got to talk to your children."

A dad whose young daughter formed an online friendship with a man in his thirties has said he hadn't been concerned about his daughter's online safety as he thought her tablet was secure.

Tony Cherrington from the UK said he was happy to let his eight-year-old daughter have her own device as he had taken a number of steps to make sure it was safe for her to use.

"We gave our daughter a tablet with confidence that I had locked it down so that nothing inappropriate could happen," he told Huffington Post.

"I could control the router and see what was going in and out, and we had a firewall in place. We were fairly well protected.

He only noticed something was amiss when he saw a message on his daughter's screen one evening.

It was from another user on Roblox, a popular gaming app that the girl was using.

Dad shocked at 8-year-old daughter's online friendship with 30-something man

"When I asked who that was, she just replied, ‘That’s my friend, Daddy’.

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"So I asked if that was a character in the game, or one of her friends from school. She said, ‘I don’t know, Daddy’.”

Tony began messaging back himself and realised that the other user was a man in his thirties.

"We started talking, and once my alarm had been raised, I started digging into the history. It turns out she had actually been talking to this guy for nearly six months.”

The man had asked how old the girl was and whether she was at school.

Tony has urged parents to talk to their kids about talking to strangers online rather than assuming they're safe.

"It’s very, very important to engage - you have got to talk to your children - it’s something you can’t pay lip service to."

You can read more about Roblox here. Check out our guide to keeping kids safe online here.