Feeds

Coronation Street to tackle Net pedo issue

British soap will highlight 'grooming' problem

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup

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

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
6 Obvious Reasons Why Facebook Will Ban This Article (Thank God)
Clampdown on clickbait ... and El Reg is OK with this
Kaspersky backpedals on 'done nothing wrong, nothing to fear' blather
Founder (and internet passport fan) now says privacy is precious
TROLL SLAYER Google grabs $1.3 MEEELLION in patent counter-suit
Chocolate Factory hits back at firm for suing customers
Facebook, Google and Instagram 'worse than drugs' says Miley Cyrus
Italian boffins agree with popette's theory that haters are the real wrecking balls
Sit tight, fanbois. Apple's '$400' wearable release slips into early 2015
Sources: time to put in plenty of clock-watching for' iWatch
Facebook to let stalkers unearth buried posts with mobe search
Prepare to HAUNT your pal's back catalogue
Ex-IBM CEO John Akers dies at 79
An era disrupted by the advent of the PC
prev story

Whitepapers

Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think
Innovations in encryption and storage resolve issues of data privacy and key requirements for companies to look for in a solution.
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.
Advanced data protection for your virtualized environments
Find a natural fit for optimizing protection for the often resource-constrained data protection process found in virtual environments.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.