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06th Feb 2020

Mum asks if school’s video about online safety is too explicit for young children

Melissa Carton

What do you think?

With more and more young children using the internet and mobile devices, it’s become more important than ever to make sure they are fully educated about the dangers of talking to strangers online.

Grooming is the term used when an adult uses electronic communication (including social media) in a predatory fashion to try to lower a child’s inhibitions. It is extremely dangerous and can lead to kidnapping or worse.

While we all want to make our children aware of the dangers of grooming, can some lessons be a step too far?

One mum felt that this was the case when her son and his class were shown a very brutally honest video warning them of online predators.


The concerned parent posted to parenting forum Mumsnet asking for advice on the situation;

“So, my ds is doing some stuff on online grooming at school. Apparently they were shown a video, where a boy made friends with a stranger online, and then got tricked into meeting him, and the man sexually abused him (this wasn’t actually shown in the film, it was explained in a voice-over, just that the boy was “sexually abused”) and then the boy was murdered by being stabbed in the neck.”

The mum went on to say that one student, an 11-year-old girl, was so upset they had to leave the classroom.

While I do think it’s a very severe version of events to show young children, unfortunately assaults like this do happen so I can understand where the school was coming from.

She followed up by saying that they were then asked to reenact what they saw in the video with each other and this I feel is maybe going a bit too far.

The mum said her son was now extremely anxious and wondered if the school should really have shown such a harsh video to such young children.

There were mixed responses from other parents with some feeling it was suitable and some who say it is totally inappropriate;

“I think they need to know the risk but in an age appropriate manner – however, some children are more/less mature at a particular age. It does sound a bit extreme/explicit.”

“In my opinion yes you are too old fashioned. It is sad but true that by secondary these conversations need to be had.”

“The video does sound too explicit for 11 year olds -I teach and I wouldn’t show that to my Y7 classes. There are plenty of ways to teach online safety without causing upset/fear.”

Personally I think children need to be warned about these issues but I think a more sensitive approach is needed.