kids

'I am so grateful I grabbed my seven-year-old's iPad when I did.'

Australian mum-of-three Sonja Bouw doesn’t know what made her walk down the stairs at her home in Chicago at that very moment.

“Call it divine intervention or good old mother’s instinct,” she told Daily Mail. “But I am so grateful I walked downstairs when I did.”

Scanning the room below, Bouw saw her seven-year-old daughter’s body jerk quickly to close the iPad she was playing on. It was unusual and immediately caught the mother’s attention.

“Allegra looked a little confused and shocked,” Bouw said. “And then when she quickly shut the iPad and was hesitant to show me, I knew something was really wrong.”

When Bouw took the device from her daughter’s hand, an image of a man’s penis followed by a graphic video were delivered. She had grabbed the iPad just in time.

Earlier text messages between the two showed how the man had been grooming seven-year-old Allegra through a music app. “Be my girlfriend please,” one message read, according to a screenshot posted to Bouw’s Instagram story.

Allegra replied saying: “Nooo, I am only six years old.” Then, “I am not six, I am seven.”

The peadophile replied: “Show me your p****, here’s my c*** baby.”

That was the message Allegra saw as she shut the iPad. Thankfully the images and video only came through after Bouw had intervened.

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“It was heartbreaking to have to explain to Allegra in more detail that there are bad men, bad people, out there who prey on young children,”Bouw told Daily Mail.

“The part that crushed me the most was that she thought it was her fault.”

The mum of three is sharing her story for one reason: to warn other parents and remind them to check their children’s devices.

“I was shocked and absolutely horrified,” she said. “I felt sick to the stomach knowing that some disgusting paedophile was trying to take advantage of my daughter’s innocence. And the fact that this was happening in what should be the safety of our own home.”

Listen: Sophie Falkiner’s rules for screen time. (Post continues…)

The story comes as the federal Minister for Law Enforcement and Cyber Security, Angus Taylor, will today announce that cyber safety training will be given to school students in from kindergarten to grade two.

According to The Sydney Morning Herald, the announcement comes after research showed children as young as four are being targeted by sexual predators and have uploaded explicit images of themselves online.

“Our law enforcement agencies are seeing shocking incidents of children as young as four producing sexually explicit material, uploading it to social media, and subsequently engaging with online child sex offenders,” Mr Taylor said in a statement.

“As a parent, these reports are deeply concerning.”

A spokeswoman for the AFP told The Sydney Morning Herald that its assessment centre had seen “an increase in referrals involving younger children” with many cases involving “unsupervised children playing with devices and accidentally loading images onto social media.”

“Other instances are more sinister and are as a result of being groomed on platforms popular with young children, where they are encouraged to take naked or sexualised images of themselves and upload them,” she said.

As part of the new program, state and territory police officers will be trained by the Australian Federal Police to deliver safety lessons at kindergartens, and for students in the first two grades of primary school.

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