Male Victim, Years 10 - 11, Years 7 - 9

Tom’s story

Names and other details have been changed to protect identities.

I love YouTube. There are a few YouTubers I follow and really like that they talk about the things I’m into. It’s amazing that some of them are really famous and make loads of money just by talking about stuff they are interested in, gaming, what’s going on in their life and things like that. I wish I could do that!

I started my own channel a few weeks ago, but I’ve hardly got any subs, maybe about 25. It’s all right, but I need loads more if I’m gonna be like, Dan TDM.
Most of the comments I get are from my mates from school, we all watch each other’s videos. Mine are just silly stuff, like me showing stuff in my room and introducing people to my pet rabbits. I’ve started to get subs that I don’t know. One guy, Will976 comments a real lot.

Will976 has been messaging me. Giving me tips about my videos and how to get more subs. It’s really working! I’ve got over 100 now and people are starting to really like what I’m putting up there. Will976 says he’s got a channel with over half a million subs but that he prefers to use this account for chatting to people properly rather than have people bugging him just because of who he is. He told me that he’s famous! But he won’t tell me who he is, he says it’s a game and I should keep guessing.

Things are going well on my Channel, even dad’s impressed, but he doesn’t really understand and just leaves me to it. He’s like, old. He doesn’t understand how a 10 year does stuff, he just watches the news and boring adult TV.
Will976 says that now my channel has loads of subs, maybe we should meet up and do a video together? He says we should do it as a surprise, not tell anyone, not my mates and definitely not my mum or dad as it’ll be a big surprise when they find out who he really is.

Will976 says he’s travelled up to see me and is staying at a hotel near where my school is. We’ve agreed that I’ll tell dad that I’m going to a friend’s house after school and that really we’ll meet up and make the video. I’m so excited about this! I’m going to meet a famous person!

When I met Will976 I didn’t recognise him. He told me that he was a gamer and that he had his PS4 in his hotel room that we could play on and make the video. When we got into his room he realised he’d forgotten his PS4 and instead he’d film us wrestling on his bed. It was fun at first, but then he started really hurting me and telling me to man up if I started to cry. He made me pose for the camera and do things I really didn’t want to. When I tried to make him stop he said he’d hurt me, tell my parents that I’d been lying to them and that it was me that said I wanted to take my clothes off. He said if I told anyone what he looked like, he’d come back and kill my rabbits.

When I went home I didn’t know what to do. All the threats Will976 made were still going around my head. How he said I made this happen and how I was a dirty disgusting boy for taking off my pants, how my parents would hate me, how he’d kill my rabbits and maybe even me if he wanted to.
I was numb all over. I stopped using YouTube and hardly spoke to my mates.

Dad kept asking me what was wrong, but I told him he wouldn’t understand. After a few days I came home from school and he sat me down and told me that he’d gone through my Internet history and messages. He wanted to know what had happened. I was really angry at first, but he stayed really calm. I think he was trying not to cry or get angry. I told him what happened and I begged him not to be mad with me.

He was angry, but not at me. He just kept hugging me and saying sorry. Dad wanted to find Will976 and said he’d kill him, but after a while he decided to call the police. I told the police what had happened. There was a lady who kept telling me that it wasn’t my fault and that a man who knew what he was doing had tricked me into what he really wanted. They said that they thought Will976 had done this before and that they were close to catching him. They said it was really helpful that I still had all of the messages as this proved that he knew what he was doing.

Will976 was found guilty of grooming and abuse. He was sent to prison. The boy in the story was supported in getting his life back together after a traumatic experience.

This story is based on real life events and has been written with the help of young people living in the Humber region.

The internet can be great fun. You can chat to your friends, play games and learn about new things. But sometimes things happen which can make you upset. People may say mean things which make you feel sad, or you may see something that you don’t like.
If this happens, you must remember it’s not your fault.
TELL AN ADULT YOU TRUST if you are upset or worried about something that has happened to you. They can help you to report it to CEOP.
If you feel in danger phone 999 to speak to the police. They will make sure you are safe.
If you don’t feel there is anyone you can talk to, there are people at Childline who will always listen to you on 0800 1111. It is free and they won’t tell anyone else about what you’ve said, which means you can feel safe talking to them.



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