02-24-2020 11:22 AM - last edited on 11-09-2020 04:40 PM by Janine-RO
Hi, I am looking for some advice regarding my 16 year old niece. Her grandfather (my father) is her sole guardian and has come across some disturbing things on her cell phone. He picked it up casually and there was a message from a "John Doe". He read it and it was someone asking for a photo. My niece replied and said "no, I can't because I'm not home" because she was at school. My father is beside himself thinking about who this John Doe could be and whether or not my niece has sent other people photos. He has talked to her endlessly about child predators and the risks of talking to strangers online. They have watched real life youtube videos about child predators, etc. He also found some messages from guys calling her a **bleep**, **bleep**, etc and that they don't want anything to do with her. Her response is "what did i do wrong, why dont you like me". Her google hangouts contact list is 15 guys and 2 girls. She is obsessed with male attention and will take any kind she can get. How do we deal with this? It's so sad that she is focusing so much of her attention on boys. Help!?
02-25-2020 02:20 PM
Hi @WorriedAuntie ,
Thanks so much for posting here with your concerns about your niece, I hope the community can be a helpful space for you.
I can hear your concern for your niece in your words, and I can understand why you and her grandfather would be concerned about who she's taking to online, especially when he's found some concerning messages. It can be really tricky teaching teenagers to navigate the online world safely. It sounds like her grandfather has been really proactive in talking to her about some of the pitfalls and dangers of interacting with people, especially people she doesn't know well, online. That's really excellent.
This link has a lot of resources and information about risk-taking in teenagers, including online behaviour, and has some great ideas and videos that might be helpful.
There's also some really great tips about online safety here from our ReachOut Parents page.
I hear your concerns about her being obsessed with male attention - teaching our kids about their self-worth, consent, and being respected in their relationships is really important. It can be really hard in the teenage years though, especially when a lot of people do crave attention from the opposite sex.
I'm wondering, have you had any conversations with her about what healthy relationships look like, or about how to set her own boundaries in her relationships with boys?
It looks like you're in Canada, is that right? I came across this service which might also be helpful, if you'd like to chat over these issues with someone.
Thanks so much for posting here, and please keep us posted on how your niece is getting on