My daughter is keen to have a penpal. Her school set up a connecting classrooms project for which there were only a few spaces for children who wanted to connect with other children in African classrooms on topics such as the environment, health and family. Twenty-five children applied according to my daughter and there were only about 10 places so they asked the children to vote, which was a shame because it just became a popularity contest. My daughter was disappointed that she didn’t make the final cut despite support from her friends. So I wanted to channel her enthusiasm elsewhere by signing up to a penpal project in Africa. But where do you start on the whole safeguarding issue? I found one site that looked genuine, but how do you know for definite that its not just a front for a paedophile ring?
It’s a shame we live in a world like this but this is the one downside to the internet – it enables child grooming.
So I contacted the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Agency (CEOP) to get their guidance on the safe way to hook up with online penpals – I will let you know how I get on.
If anyone else has experience on this I would welcome advice……although how do I know that your not a paedophile – OMG am I paranoid or what? But the internet is so intimate yet so faceless at the same time that there is no evidential reason to trust it as far as you can throw Bill Gates.
I am blogging every day to help fundraise for Unicef to help them protect vulnerable children worldwide. I aim to raise £1 through this blog. If you can help my campaign (which has kind of morphed into a social experiment to see if blogs can help with fundraising!) please visit my page on the Unicef website.
Thanks for reading.