Digital Parenting

A Parent’s Worst Nightmare How Monitoring Saved A Child Life

It seems as though at one end, technology has made our lives so much easier, while on the other hand, the same technology is responsible for making our lives all the more at risk. Take the story of Leicestershire, the UK-based teen schoolgirl Kayleigh Haywood as an example.

The poor girl was raped and then battered to death by a 28-year-old landscape gardener when she tried to escape. The 28-year-old gardener named Luke Harlow has also been accused of grooming the 15-year-old Kayleigh along with two other teenagers online before luring Kayleigh out of the comfort of her home to his resident where he raped and later held her for over 6 hours. Later he invited his neighbor, 29 years old Stephan Beadman to sexually assault the teen as well.

Eventually, the teen tried to escape them by running half naked out of their house and was pursued by Beadman who pinned her to the ground on the street where he raped her yet again and marched her an over a mile down the street where he killed her with a brick.

Furthermore, Harlow was also found grooming two other teenage girls online via Facebook, Whatsapp as well as text messaging making them believe that he was in love with them and that they were his “Princess” and “His only one”. He also vowed that he would “look after them” and “care for them” while telling his accomplices how he planned to “kidnap and keep” the girls as soon as he got hold of them.

Both girls were deeply traumatized as to what Harlow had done to Kayleigh since they both believed that he loved them, with one of them claiming that she still loved him regardless of what Harlow had done to her, Kayleigh and the other girl.

Stephen Beadman has been sentenced to a life imprisonment by Nottingham Crown Court on accounts of rape, false imprisonment and murder of Kayleigh Haywood while his accomplice, Luke Harlow has been jailed for 12 years on accounts of grooming of minor girls as well as false imprisonment and rape of Kayleigh Haywood.

While the judge passing the sentence told the parents of late Kayleigh Haywood to not blame themselves as they could have done nothing to prevent such an incident from occurring, that is not the fact, the truth.

If the parents of Kayleigh Haywood had paid close attention to what their daughter had been doing online by monitoring her physically or by using parental monitoring apps, they could have prevented Harlow from getting his hands on their daughter.

Living in an age where the lines of propriety have long been blurred by technology, spy apps are one thing that parents are legally authorized to use in order to keep an eye on their children when they are out of sight or need their various online activities monitored. Additionally, although there are many moral qualms associated with this aspect,  spy apps can work brilliantly in stealth mode and parents are authorized by law to not inform their children that they are keeping an eye on the online social media activities, correspondence with their peers as well as their real-time location when they are not at home, yet at the same time parenting experts encourage parents to inform their children of the sort of surveillance they are put under to develop a closer bond among parents and their children that are based on mutual trust and respect.

What parents need to realize is that even though they are raising a very level headed teen that is a responsible soon to be the adult, they are still children and still very much impressionable. Children more so than ever before have more insecurities and social pressures to put up with than we did at their age. From having to work hard to shine like the brightest start in their academic career to ensure a successful and stress-free future along with the pressure to always look their best and be runway ready is something parents can neither imagine nor have the mental capability of understanding. In times such as these teens like Kayleigh are not to be blamed for believing a stranger when he told her that he loves her but their parents need to more vigilant about what their child is doing with the various privileges bestowed upon them.

We have already had one too many Kayleigh’s going through what no child her age, let alone any human being in the world, should have to go through.

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