Powerful Short Film Shows the Real Dangers of Online Predators
No parent is clueless about the dangers of online predators. They're dangerous and very real. That's not the issue this story addresses. The issue is the lack of disappearing foresight. Or a denial so strong that it could happen to your child. We create a safety bubble the rest of the world has to stay out of.
Kayleigh Haywood was a 15-year-old girl that was raped and killed by the neighbor of a man she met online.
Kayleigh was being what's called "groomed" through a series of over 2,800 text messages that started with a simple, "Hey, how are you?" Online grooming refers to the actions taken by an adult to create a relationship with a child with the sole intent of facilitating sexual contact.
Over the course of two weeks, Kayleigh and Luke Harlow, the man who started the conversation, would exchange numbers and begin a relationship online. The two had never met prior to the first messages.
Kayleigh's body was found in a hedgerow near Ibstock, Leicestershire, in England. According to police reports following the discover, Kayleigh was dropped off by her family outside Ibstock to spend an evening at a friend's house on Friday, November 13, 2015. At least that's what she told her mother. By Sunday, November 14, she was reported as missing. On Monday, Luke Harlow and his neighbor, Stephen Beadmen, were arrested in connection with Kayleigh's disappearance. And by Wednesday, November 18, her body was finally discovered.
Both Harlow and Beadman were charged with her disappearance, murder, online grooming, and two counts of sexual activity.
Harlow (left), Beadman (Right)
The immediate thought of prevention comes up and how to help stop this from happening again. The Leicestershire Police, in correlation with Kayleigh Haywood's family, created a short film to chronicle the last two weeks of her life.
According to the Leicestershire Police website:
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. 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.