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Lewd and racist Facebook messages devastate Gloucester girl, 12

By The Citizen  |  Posted: January 15, 2013

Laura Streets with her dad Jon Peterson

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HUNDREDS of lewd and racist messages have been sent from 12-year-old Laura Streets' hacked Facebook account.

The string of vile emails devastated her family, and Barnwood Park school is keeping watch after the cyber-bullying began before Christmas. The messages were sent to school pals, friends and neighbours.

Her dad Jon Peterson said: "It has been unbelievably cruel. My daughter can't go to school without worrying who might have received one of these messages from her account. We've even had people knocking on the door at home to say 'have you seen what your daughter has sent to me?' I've lost count at how many have been sent but it could be in the hundreds.

"It's been really upsetting for her and my whole family."

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Many of the messages contained racist and sexual content.

The family hasn't involved the police yet but has successfully closed the account down.

Mr Peterson, who twice shut down his daughter's Facebook accounts because she was not old enough to have an account, did not know she had this one – and he has now closed this one down too.

Laura missed a day of school last Tuesday because she was terrified what other girls might be thinking about her.

The school has since been keeping watch on Laura.

Mr Peterson said: "The school has been absolutely brilliant and very supportive."

Barnwood Park deputy head Bryan Gardner said pupils who had received an abusive message from Laura had been told the account had been hacked.

"Our number one priority is the safety of our pupils," he said. "We have sought to reassure Laura that if this happens again, to tell us."

A police spokesman said: "This is a stark reminder of the importance of internet safety and keeping your passwords and other sensitive information secure.

"We would urge parents to discuss the type of issues that can crop up when using social media sites and to read through Facebook's own guidance about such matters."

A Facebook spokesman said the best advice on setting a password, and how to reset it if a user believes it has been hacked, is at www.facebook.com/safety/tools.

They said when anyone younger than 13 tries to register it prevents them from doing so, and when it finds underage users on the site, it permanently deletes the accounts.

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  • uselesswonder  |  January 15 2013, 7:13PM

    Well all I say is let's hope the young girl in question has learnt from this. If you have been told by your parents that you can't have a FB account then you shouldn't go behind their backs and register again. There are reasons, young lady, why parents say 'NO' and this is one of them! However after the second time of being caught the parents should have taken the pc away from her.

    |   7
  • FreeRadical1  |  January 15 2013, 6:29PM

    Blame the parents. Children make easier targets than adults,s they shouldn't be using Facebook. That's why they have an age policy. It's like allowing your underage girl to go to a night club, and then complaining that she was served alcohol - more than one person is to blame.

    |   5
  • valhalla2010  |  January 15 2013, 4:49PM

    What is this 'facebook' thing that people talk about?

    |   -1
  • samsung01  |  January 15 2013, 1:29PM

    if facebook should charge a monthly fee. you would only get genuine people on there .as for now facebook is nothing but trouble

    |   6
  • IsitJimKerr  |  January 15 2013, 12:29PM

    I know I'm wasting my time, but yet again, if proof were needed, but proof that social media sites are absolutely good for nothing.

    |   6
  • Walker100  |  January 15 2013, 10:47AM

    "They said when anyone younger than 13 tries to register it prevents them from doing so" That's absolutely right, FB prevent anyone under the age of 13 from having an account.....no, they do, honestly........!!!!!!!

    |   16
  • MentalBeaver  |  January 15 2013, 10:40AM

    The age restriction for a Facebook account is 13 years old so I'm afraid I have little sympathy.

    |   25
  • Jewbacca  |  January 15 2013, 9:39AM

    Exactly. This is what you get when you use the computer as a surrogate babysitter, and your dim spawn haven't got a clue what they're doing.

    |   18
  • emdia43  |  January 15 2013, 9:35AM

    Here's an idea. Take the computer away from your child....

    |   30
  • thesmithster  |  January 15 2013, 9:15AM

    This sort of thing happens all the time - this is not news. Why go running to the paper? Since she cannot be trusted not to keep opening new accounts, use parental controls and supervise her internet sessions.

    |   32