‘Extreme vigilance’ warning issued following suspicious online approach

PARENTS have been warned to be extremely vigilant following a suspicious approach to a Strabane schoolgirl through Facebook.

The child, a primary five pupil, was befriended by an individual claiming to be 16 who then sent her several sexual and very explicit messages.

When a relative discovered the male’s advances, they raised the alarm and immediately contacted the education authorities.


In a letter, local school principals urged parents to be extremely cautious about their children’s internet usage.

Parents were warned, “This male appears to have many young girls as friends – many of whom are from the Strabane area apparently.

“This is a worrying development and calls for extreme vigilance.”

As the world’s most popular social networking site, Facebook has over one billion users. However it does have in place an age-limit of 13 and above for members.

Bridget Wilders is principal of Barrack Street Primary School and was among school heads who wrote to parents. Yesterday she said that the dangers of internet predators needed to be taken on board.

“It is a worrying development in that a primary five pupil had a Facebook account in the first place.

“We do not initiate Facebook accounts in school and it is really a parental issue. It is parents who monitor what sites their children are on at home and they need to realise that if they allow them on Facebook and they befriend someone, there is a risk. That’s why the legal recommendation is there.

“In this case the young girl added someone as a friend and may have been misled. The children are too young and are at an age where they are vulnerable and susceptible and that can be taken advantage of.

“So we are reminding parents that they should not allow their children to have Facebook accounts,” Mrs Wilders said.


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