A YOUTH worker who has seen young people devastated by exploitation has created a film warning about online grooming by sexual predators.
Mum-of-one Rachel Frier (27) used her experiences at work to make the three-minute short of a teenage girl tricked into sharing explicit photos of herself.
Rachel said the aim was for schoolchildren and parents to know the danger signs of being groomed and where to get help if targeted by an online abuser.
“I’ve seen first hand the devastation caused to teenagers by abuse and online sexual exploitation,” she said.
“I’ve worked with young people who suffered this abuse and the effects are devastating. Once bubbly and outgoing girls are now withdrawn, with no confidence or self-esteem.
“One young teenager was persuaded to share her number with someone she met online. Soon she was receiving inappropriate calls from an older man, which caused great distress to her and her family. The police had to get involved.”
Rachel (left) worked with media charity Fixers, which previously helped produce Rotherham Youth Cabinet’s Rotherham Proud film, challenging the town’s negative reputation.
She said: “Now that the internet is so easily available on devices and smart phones, it’s so much easier for perpetrators to continually abuse or take advantage of young people and there’s a rising problem with sexting, grooming and bullying.
“Young people are exposed to so much inappropriate content online, and the fact that I have a seven-year-old boy makes this even more important to me.”
In the film — called Sarah’s Online Love — the character is lured into sharing pics and then blackmailed after thinking she is enjoying a romance with another teenager.
Rachel, who has completed a graduate diploma in youth work, has also already created an information booklet warning young people of online predators.
“If I could prevent even one young person from experiencing abuse or exploitation, I would consider that a great achievement,” she said.