Feeds

Coronation Street to tackle Net pedo issue

British soap will highlight 'grooming' problem

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Build a business case: developing custom apps

The number one UK soap Coronation Street is to feature a storyline in which the issue of paedophiles "grooming" kids over the Net will be played out by main character Sarah Louise Platt.

Sarah Platt - played by actress Tina O'Brien - is 15 years old and is one of the soap's most popular characters. Sarah had a baby aged just 13, and so enjoys a very limited social life due to having to balance looking after her child with school.

In the upcoming storyline, Tina will turn to the Internet in her bedroom as a way of meeting people. While visiting chatrooms, she is befriended by a 16-year-old boy who shares her interests and sends her a photo of himself. It turns out however that it is a man posing as a 16-year-old, and when he persuades Sarah to meet him face-to-face, she finds herself in a very dangerous situation.

The soap is steering carefully around the issue by making the online chats between two people of consenting age - Sarah, although she is actually 15, claims she is 16 while chatting online.

Under proposed Home Office legislation, an adult posing as a teenager will be subject to a banning order and then to a jail sentence of up to five years if this order is broken.

A spokeswoman for the production company Granada confirmed the writers would be talking to the Home Office regarding the story, which is expected to peak in June/July. "We have been in touch with the Home Office," she told us. "But it is very difficult at the moment with the election on and the government in purdah. We hope to work with it afterwards though."

As for the reason behind the plot, the spokewoman told us they hoped to highlight the issue of Internet crime, given recent publicity by the Tonight with Trevor MacDonald show and TV presenter Carol Vordermann.

The show should also prove a far more effective measure in tackling concern over Internet chatrooms than either the melodramatic outpourings of celebrities or the authoritarian and legislative approach of the government.

"Sarah is hugely popular and a great role model for teenagers," the spokeswoman told us. "No matter how many politicians talk about the problem, they will never beat a peer in getting the message across. Plus, we know that many parents and kids watch the show side by side. Hopefully, we will spark some debate and then we would have done a good public service."

It's hard to argue with that logic. However, while the show should do more to make kids aware of the potential dangers of chatrooms, we remain concerned that it could also be used to kick up a storm that will see unnecessary and draconian legislation pushed through on a wave of public worry. ®

Related Stories

Home Office proposes new Net pedo laws
Govt whips up chatroom pedo hysteria
Govt offers Net advice to schools
Police swoop on Internet paedophiles

Next gen security for virtualised datacentres

More from The Register

next story
Microsoft exits climate denier lobby group
ALEC will have to do without Redmond, it seems
Caught red-handed: UK cops, PCSOs, specials behaving badly… on social media
No Mr Fuzz, don't ask a crime victim to be your pal on Facebook
Barnes & Noble: Swallow a Samsung Nook tablet, please ... pretty please
Novelslab finally on sale with ($199 - $20) price tag
Ballmer leaves Microsoft board to spend more time with his b-balls
From Clippy to Clippers: Hi, I see you're running an NBA team now ...
Kate Bush: Don't make me HAVE CONTACT with your iPHONE
Can't face sea of wobbling fondle implements. What happened to lighters, eh?
Video of US journalist 'beheading' pulled from social media
Yanked footage featured British-accented attacker and US journo James Foley
Amazon takes swipe at PayPal, Square with card reader for mobes
Etailer plans to undercut rivals with low transaction fee offer
Assange™: Hey world, I'M STILL HERE, ignore that Snowden guy
Press conference: ME ME ME ME ME ME ME (cont'd pg 94)
Call of Duty daddy considers launching own movie studio
Activision Blizzard might like quality control of a CoD film
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 10 endpoint backup mistakes
Avoid the ten endpoint backup mistakes to ensure that your critical corporate data is protected and end user productivity is improved.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Rethinking backup and recovery in the modern data center
Combining intelligence, operational analytics, and automation to enable efficient, data-driven IT organizations using the HP ABR approach.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.