Police involved after men tried to groom schoolgirl on her school iPad

NMAC11-3326-1  ''Mansfield Woodhouse Manor Academy
NMAC11-3326-1 ''Mansfield Woodhouse Manor Academy

A Mansfield Woodhouse school is working with police after a 14-year-old girl was contacted online by two older men who trying ‘grooming’ her via her school iPad.

The mother of the pupil at Manor Academy was stunned to find her daughter had been messaged by the men claiming to be teenagers after she downloaded a popular social media app.

Attempts to ‘groom’ the teenager were then discovered after IT staff checked the device.

This week the school has moved to reassure parents that staff had involved the police and were taking every measure they could to prevent it happening again.

The mother - who asked not to be named - said her daughter had managed to install the BBM app on one of the devices which have been issued to pupils and staff for interactive use in lessons and at home.

She said: “My child currently attends this school, but partly because I was extremely apprehensive about the use of these iPads, I wouldn’t allow her to bring one home. The school issued her with one in the morning and she had to return it at the end of the school day.

“Unfortunately, my daughter has had an experience where she was able to download BBM app onto the iPad and was found to be talking to what she thought were two 19 year old males.

“It turns out that, once the technical department researched it, that they were in fact older men asking for her name, her picture and where she lived.

“I have spoken to the headteacher about this and have taken the appropriate action to make sure my child no longer has any access to an iPad within school time.

“However, I am extremely concerned about the safety of these devices and am sure that not all parents are aware of the current dangers that they are bringing.”

In a statement to Chad, headteacher Donna Trusler said she was confident everything was in place to keep pupils safe and away from online predators.

“Manor Academy is using a very comprehensive ‘Mobile Device Management’ system that prevents misuse, filters content, ensures only ‘age appropriate’ apps are available and tracks the iPad devices to ensure that our students remain as safe as possible,” she said.

She said the majority of young people nowadays have access to a range of personal smart phones, laptops and tablet devices that allow unregulated access to the internet and a range of popular social media sites like Facebook and Snapchat - which are not traceable by school or parents.

“It is because our device management system is so effective that we were able to pick up on this issue,” she said.

“If the student had been using the app on her phone, such activity would have gone undetected.

“We have taken this matter extremely seriously and are working closely with Nottinghamshire Police to take every measure we can to prevent it happening again.”

Now all students have taken part in an e-learning assembly where they were further educated about the dangers of online messaging.

Added Ms Trusler: “Students should not be talking to anybody online that they do not know personally - whether on their iPads, their phones or their home computers.

“We will continue to monitor the apps that students are using and would like to also ask that parents are extremely vigilant about who their children are talking to online – via Facebook, Twitter and via messaging apps.

“We will continue to confiscate any iPads that we believe are being used inappropriately and urge any students that are using the Blackberry Messenger app to not share their BBM Pin with anybody other than their friends.”