Last night saw the first airing of a gripping and heart-wrenching BBC Three TV docu-drama about the life and death of Breck Bednar, a 14-year-old Surrey schoolboy who was lured to his death after being groomed online. I’d urge all parents to make time to watch the TV programme; it’s incredibly insightful and will open your eyes to some of the risks of our online world.
Breck’s tragic story feels all the more real to me as he lived just a couple of miles away from the Wild Orange Media office. The TV show superbly explains how an online predator cleverly befriended Breck while gaming then manipulated his thinking with chilling intent.
At Internet Safety School, our free service to parents at local schools, we talk about the dangers of the online world and, thankfully, remind ourselves that extreme grooming stories like Breck’s are mercifully rare. But the Murder Games TV programme provides a timely reminder of the dangers and the importance of parents paying close attention to everything their children do, both online and offline.
Breck’s parents are model parents but now must live with the painful, life-long regret that maybe, just maybe, they could have done more. In truth, as the docu-drama shows, they did everything right including keeping a close eye on their child’s online activities and intervening where needed. But even their close scrutiny was not enough to stop a determined online predator from communicating with and ultimately killing their beloved eldest son. And this is what makes Breck’s story all the more relevant to us all. We can learn from his misfortune so we can better protect our children in their online lives.
If you can access the BBC iPlayer service, you can now watch the programme on catch-up TV here. It will be available to view online for four weeks, until the 25th February 2016. I’d urge every parent to find 60 minutes to watch and digest the show’s important messages. It will be time very well spent.