Sharon and the Chat Room for kids of 10 to teenage

Sharon and the Chat Room

Sharon's Avatar

Rain streamed down the window pane; Sharon was bored, she didn’t feel like reading a book and had no fresh ideas to add to her sketch pad. She couldn’t be bothered to practice on the piano.  She glanced round her bedroom looking for ideas, picking up her iphone she scrolled down through the apps.

Sharon wondered if any of her friends were online. None of them were.

She lazily clicked and scrolled until she found some signs of activity. It was a chat room. Some of the people in school had mentioned chat rooms, but until that moment she hadn’t bothered to look at them. She had thought that there was no point in talking to strangers she would never see and who might be across the other side of the world.

However today was different. She was curious. The subject of the chat looked interesting to her. She thought she might learn a little bit more about a game that she enjoyed playing on her phone. There seemed to be about five people in the chat room. Some of them actually displayed their photographs, and others had avatars. These avatars and looked very glamorous. The photos did not. She thought she would watch the conversation. She didn’t have to join in, but to watch she had to make her presence known. She had an avatar, it was a cartoon picture of a young woman who looked at least five years older than she was, and who had beautiful long blonde hair, large breasts and a very tiny waist. Her avatar’s name was Gudrun.

The other people on chat room were all boys, she could see from the photographs that they were about her age or maybe younger. The things that they were saying were very boring, but every so often somebody made a joke or insulted someone else and there was a bit of banter. The language used was not very pleasant. It was a bit like a playground conversation between boys who were trying to prove how grown-up they were, by swearing and making rude suggestions about their body parts. She soon got bored. What was the point of it? What a waste of time! It had nothing whatever to do with the game in the chat room name.

Sharon turned to her sketch pad. She thought she would redesign her avatar. She gave Gudrun a hair cut – very short and spikey. She changed her clothes to black leather and chains. She still had large breasts and a tiny waist. She could easily find all these aspects of appearance online. Soon she had a bold looking young woman staring at her from the screen.

Sharon's Avatar

Yes! That might raise some interest! Sharon went back to the chat room. Some of the young boys had dropped out and there were two new people in it. She wondered if she’d be brave enough to join in the conversation which seemed to be about game tactics this time. As soon as she made herself known, one of the new people was addressing her.

‘Well, hello, Gudrun, have you come to play?’

Sharon suddenly felt very hot, and nervous. Should she reply? Well, surely it wouldn’t do any harm?

‘Yes, I want to learn some new moves’, she typed.

‘Oh, I could teach you a few of them,’ another person typed.

“Get lost dude, I saw her first,’ typed the first person, who from their avatar appeared to be a cool redheaded girl.

‘Go and f*** yourself!’  said the second person whose avatar looked like a sweet young blond girl with long eyelashes.

Sharon switched off her phone. She was disgusted. At that moment her elder sister came into her room.

‘What’s the matter Shaz? You’re looking a bit off!’

‘Yes, I am! I was just looking at ‘MindKraft’ to learn some new moves and I went in a chat room. It was full of creeps!’

‘That’s the trouble with chat rooms, they usually attract stupid people who just want to talk about sex. They are sick! A girl in my class thought she had met a really nice guy on a chat room. He had a brilliant avatar, she said. She arranged to meet him at the shopping mall in town. He turned out to be fat and spotty and about 25 years old. He got really cross when she said she wasn’t interested. He tried to grab her but she was faster than him and she hid in Next until he disappeared.’

‘Why did she think he was so nice in the first place?’

‘She showed me all the things he said to her online. She saved them onto her laptop, see. He sounded really interesting and funny. And he really buttered her up!’

‘What do you mean, buttered her up? I don’t know what you are saying!’

‘Well, it’s what they do, isn’t it, to make a girl feel good. He flattered her. He said things like her avatar had beautiful hair, and then he said he thought her real hair would be even better. Then he said her eyes were gorgeous, and he knew that her own eyes would be just as lovely. He asked her for a photograph, and she sent him one!! Stupid girl. Then he really went to town. He praised every bit of her, from her clothes to her figure and face. He even liked her shoes!! It’s called grooming, you know, lying to make someone feel good and to trust you.’

‘And she believed him?’

‘Well, yes, she wanted to, you see. She was feeling lonely and thought that having a boyfriend might solve everything.’

‘She was lucky in a way. She escaped, some girls are not so lucky. It was on TV the other day. Lonely girls getting kidnapped by men who pretend to be really nice at first, then the girls can’t get away from them. Ugh, let’s not think about it!’

‘I think I’ll stick to people I really know in real life now. I won’t bother with chat rooms.’

‘Yes, that’s right Shaz. They are usually a really lower class of people who use them – people who love to swear and talk about their private parts, who wants to know about that? And as I said, some of them are really nasty and dangerous.’

Questions:

Did this story remind you of anything in your life?

What advice would you give to anyone who keeps going on chat rooms?

Why do some men ‘groom’ girls?

What might the danger signs of untrustworthy people be?

What are the real dangers of chat rooms do you think?

 

Discuss this with an adult that you know and trust, who knows about online activity and its dangers. The following information came from a website of the parents of Breck who was groomed on an online games chat room and murdered.www.breckfoundation.org

Beware

Opening files, accepting emails, IM messages, pictures or texts from people you don’t know or trust can lead to problems  – they may contain viruses or nasty messages

Report

Tell your parent, or trusted adult if someone or something makes you feel uncomfortable or worried, or if you or someone you know is being bullied

Educate

Someone online might lie about who they are and information on the internet may not be true. Always check information with other websites, books or someone who knows. If you like chatting online it’s best to only chat to your real friends and family

Communicate

Meeting someone you have only been in contact with online can be dangerous. Only do so with your parents or carers permission and even then only when they can be present. Remember online friends are still strangers even if you have been talking to them for a long time

Keep Safe

Keep safe by being careful not to give your personal information when you are chatting or posting online. Personal information includes your email address, phone number, password, location

Story about sexual exploitation of a young girl ‘Sasha Escapes’ for children of 10 to 17 years

My name is Sasha. I have is a story to tell you. I want to warn you about something that is happening in our country which is having a very bad effect on many young girls, and some boys. It’s happening to girls of all sorts of different backgrounds. My grandparents came from Bangladesh. My parents were brought up in the UK. There was quite a lot of tension in my family as we were growing up. My grandparents had a lot of influence and their plan was that I would marry a Bangladeshi boy. My parents were not so sure about that. I certainly didn’t want to marry someone I had never met. When I was 13 I was taken to Bangladesh by my grandparents. I met a man who was 38. They told me that he would come over to the UK and marry me when I was 16. He seemed like an old man to me. He had teeth missing and he didn’t speak English. I thought it would be terrible being married to him.

When I came back to the UK I told my friends about this old man. I said I would never marry him and I told my parents that. We started to argue. They said that my grandparents only wanted the best for me. I said they just wanted to get their friend’s son a UK passport, which he would have if he married me. I became very annoyed and upset. I needed to find a way of avoiding this marriage.

I had several girlfriends at school. One of them invited me to a sleep over at her house. I think my parents were quite relieved to let me go because we had been arguing so much. My friends had brothers. Sometimes we had parties with just a few people.  We put on some music and danced. It was great fun. I felt as if there was hope for me and my future. The world did not consist of only that man from Bangladesh. After a few weeks my grandparents heard that I had been going out and seeing boys. They were very angry. They imprisoned me in my room. I could not bear it. They said they were going to take me over to Bangladesh and marry me to the man because I didn’t have to be 16 to get married over there.

I escaped from my house. I didn’t know where to go. If I went to my friends house my parents would just bring me home.  I went to the city centre, where the lights were bright.  I felt better there.  I knew a boy called Mark who worked in a club.  I was hoping to see him.  I stood outside the Tiger club and a handsome young man came out.  He had a nice smile.  I thought he might know the boy. He told me he did and that we could go inside and have a drink and wait for Mark.  He asked me all sorts of questions and because I was lonely and unhappy I told him about my problem.  There was no sign of Mark and the young man told me that he would show me a hostel where I could stay so that I didn’t have to go home. I was afraid but I was more afraid of being taken to Bangladesh, so I did go to the hostel.  It was noisy and quite dirty and people disturbed me in the night.  Women were shouting and crying. The next morning when I stepped outside, there was the young  man , Kumar, waiting for me. He asked me how I had got on and offered to buy me some breakfast.  I was so pleased to see him. He seemed to be like an old friend.  I spent the day with him, just walking around the city, seeing the sights and having a nice lunch.  He seemed to be so kind and I needed kindness.  At the end of the day he asked me if I was going back to the hostel.  He read my face.  I really didn’t want to go.

He said he shared a house with some other  young men, and that one of them was away at the moment and I could stay in his room if I wanted to. I stayed. I felt so grown up. I had my own room and I could use the kitchen. There was plenty of food. I cooked meals for Kumar.  He said I was pretty and that I would be wasted on the  Bangladeshi  man.  After a few days he said his friend Rajesh was coming back and that I would have to leave the room. I was upset, where would I go?

He said if I didn’t mind sharing his bed I could stay in his room. He had been so nice to me. I didn’t want to leave and I had nowhere else to go.  That was my first experience of sex.  There was no love in it, it just seemed rather strange and not enjoyable, but not horrible. After a few nights he told me Rajesh wanted to sleep with me.  I was shocked. He laughed. He told me I wasn’t his wife. He said if I wanted to stay  I would have to sleep with Rajesh. I had no choice.  Rajesh was horrible.  He didn’t care about me at all. When he had finished with me he made me sleep on the floor. That was the beginning of a terrible time.  Every day a different man came for me.  I had to stay in the house and cook and do whatever the men wanted.  Some of them were dirty, some were rough and I saw them paying Rajesh.  They never talked to me as a person, they just used me. 

One day when is everyone was out  I escaped through the bathroom window. I had no shoes. They had taken them away to prevent me from trying to escape.  I had decided to go home. I thought that if my parents loved me they would see how I had suffered and they would leave me alone and not make me marry. I was right. They were very upset and said that my grandparents were wrong and they would never let them take me away.  I had a lucky escape really, although it was a terrible experience. Fortunately, I didn’t become pregnant and didn’t pick up a dreadful disease. The men didn’t beat me up and they didn’t come looking for me.  I went back to school to finish my education and now I have joined a charity which helps girls to get out of situations of the sort that I was in.

Sexual exploitation of girls and sometimes boys is a cruel and wicked thing and we should work hard to prevent it from happening.

Questions

Why did Sasha want to leave home?

What is ‘forced marriage’? It is illegal in the UK.  Girls can get help. Ask your teacher or social worker about this.

Why did Sasha want to trust Kumar?

What did Kumar do to get Sasha to trust him?

What did Kumar want from Sasha?

Have you heard about this sort of thing before?  What else could have happened to Sasha?

Could she have gone to the police?

Who could have helped Sasha?