BBC School Report 2017

Interview with Lorin LaFave

Breck Bednar was a 14 year old boy from Caterham, Surrey, who loved technology and on-line gaming. He was groomed via the internet and sadly murdered on February 17th 2014 by someone he met on-line. As part of their investigation ​into online safety, four Year 8 young reporters interviewed Breck’s mother, Lorin Lafave.

Hello Ms LaFave, thank you so much for agreeing to speak to us. We understand it must be very hard. We would firstly like to ask how important do you think it is to tell people what happened to your son Breck?

I think it’s very important for people to know what happened to Breck because it’s a real story, he was a normal school boy. When he met an online predator online, he didn’t realise that it wasn’t his real friend. It just shows that if you are talking to someone who you feel safe talking to, they might not be who they said they were.

How vulnerable are young people when they’re online?

They are a lot more vulnerable than they think because there are evil people out there who will pretend to be someone they’re not. Breck’s story is just one version of how grooming can happen because every child can be manipulated and controlled in different ways.

What were the first red flags that something was wrong with Breck?

At that time it was very hard to differentiate between what was just normal teenage behaviour - at that age children do pull away from their family - so I couldn’t really tell if he just thought I was old and boring, or the reality, which was that an online predator was pulling him away from his friends and family.

Do you think Breck’s school was doing enough to prevent things like this happening?

I do think about that often, because every school is required to give e-safety lessons and assemblies. But some schools don’t deliver it in an engaging sort of way. When I asked Breck about his he just said “Ugh, so boring mum, so boring”. I think it’s important for them to give the message in a more interesting way. I also think that students respond to real life stories more powerfully than just to plain advice.

Do you think society is less safe due to the online world?

I actually do think that. I mean we’ve always had predators, even when I was young there was a child killer right in my county but what makes it more scary is that predators have access to us not just in parks and in our schools but in our own rooms. So because of this I do think this is a less safe time because they can invite themselves right into our houses and get into young peole’s heads.

Do you have any tips for young people for staying safe online?

My top tip is to never ever meet someone that you don’t know in a private place - it even happens to adults when they’re doing things like online dating. Another tip is to always remember to keep your online friends separate from your real friends because you might think you know them but you actually don’t. My final tip is: if it seems too good to be true, it probably is. If someone is offering you all these gifts and free things, you have to ask yourself why.

Thank you very very much Ms LaFave, we really appreciate it.

Lorin Lafave was interviewed by:

Anna Lawrence-Wasserberg, Maia Harris, Amelia Toller and Max Sadur Sutherland

Please read more about the Breck foundation here

Download the Breck Foundation flyer

Last modified onFriday, 11 March 2016 10:33
More in this category: « Year 8 Report into New GCSEs

BBC Reports from 2017

  • LGBT+ representation in Alexandra Park School
    LGBT+ representation in Alexandra Park School
    Kiah Cruise writes...

    As we know, LGBT+ media representation is hard to come by, and when you do, it isn't always positive.  However, Alexandra Park School does its best to recognise and educate its pupils on LGBT+ rights, discrimination and abuse that they suffer, types of sexuality, and gives plenty of support to openly, or privately, LGBT+ students.

    One way that they support these students is by having an LGBT+ Support and Pride network group, of which I am a member myself.  In the club, we discuss important issues surrounding LGBT+ people, and their rights.  We have recently had a session in shich people told stories of 'coming out' as LGBT+, and most were positive.  The club also gives us a chance to meet similar-minded people, whether they just support members of the community, or are part of it.  To improve the already large amount of bad and discouraging recognition given to homophobia, the club is also setting up an anti-homophobia campaign, which includes students and teachers on the proper use of the word 'gay', raising awareness of subtle bullying that members of the community may experience, directing positive messages about the community towards younger, less educated students, and abolishing harmful stereotypes of LGBT+ men, women and non-binary-gendered personnel.

    As well as the club, students are taught about sexualities in Citizenship, vaguely, which opens up the possibilities of properly informed, positive representation from a figure of authority.  This is a really important step to seeing same sex / asex relationships as equal as equal to heterosexual ones.

    In terms of work to do, there is still a long way to go.  Even with small actions, such as calling transgender students by their preferred name in class, even if they haven't legally changed it, would mean so much to those students, and the rest of the community.  Being called by their preferred names, transgender students would feel more accepted and comfortable in a learning environment.  We also get very little support and education on gender image, which many people (especially at the ages of 13-17) do need help with, and can be questioning.

    Written on Thursday, 16 March 2017 14:15 in BBC School Report 2017 Read 1020 times
  • Science Week 2017 - an article for BBC Schools report 2017
    Science Week 2017 - an article for BBC Schools report 2017

    Science week is a yearly event that Alexandra Park School takes part in every year.  It is a great opportunity for students to learn about science whilst having fun too.

    There were many events throughout the week, of which some I was able to take pictures of.

    Monday - 'Minibeasts'

    In this activity, we were investigating the effects of alcohol, caffeine and glucose on water fleas.  It was very interesting as you could see the microscopic life forms very clearly through the microscope, and the results were very interesting.

    sci wk 01sci wk 02

    Tuesday - Chemistry special

    In the chemistry special, we did two activities.  The first was growing a chemical garden.  To do this we dropped different substances intto a clear substance and they grew into fascinating formations right before our eyes.  The second activity was called 'rainbow titration'.  By pouring different substances into the tube, an amazing rainbow slowly formed.

    sci wk 03bsci wk 04c

    By Helen Brookes
    Science Week took place nationally from 10th - 19th March.  Read more about Science Week at APS here.
    Written on Thursday, 16 March 2017 14:37 in BBC School Report 2017 Read 1087 times
  • Donald Trump - an APS news item for BBC School report 2017
    Donald Trump - an APS news item for BBC School report 2017

    Some APS students decided to report on Donald Trump for BBC School Report day 2017.

    The video is about what our views are on the leader of the free world; why he came to power, who he connected with in his drive for the preseidency and what impact this has on both us locally and the world as a whole.

    Written on Thursday, 16 March 2017 14:18 in BBC School Report 2017 Read 1139 times
  • Sports news for BBC School report 2017
    Sports news for BBC School report 2017

    APS Students participating in BBC School Report day 2017 report on sports in the video below.

    Written on Thursday, 16 March 2017 14:03 in BBC School Report 2017 Read 822 times