We may think we know exactly what our kids are doing online, and on their smartphones, but sadly we can’t always be there to protect them. This is why knowledge is so important.
Most kids go through life thinking “that will never happen to me,” but unfortunately bad things happen no matter how hard we try to prevent them.
That is the lesson these parents are trying to teach kids all over the world after their 15-year old daughter was brutally murdered by a man she met online.
In 2015, 15-year old Kayleigh Haywood was contacted by 28-year old Luke Harlow on Facebook. The two hit it off, and after a few weeks of communicating Kayleigh was persuaded to visit the grown man.
It turns out that visit would cost Kayleigh her life, as she was raped and murdered on the night she went to Harlow’s. Now Kayleigh’s parents want to get their daughter’s story out there for everyone to see so this never happens again.
After getting Kayleigh drunk, and sexually assaulting her, Harlow took the young girl over to a neighbor’s house. The neighbor, Stephen Beadman, proceeded to rape and murder Kayleigh on his farmland.
Kayleigh’s story was released this week, and has already been viewed over a million times. Kayleigh’s mother, Stephanie, says that “We want every child aged 11 and upwards to see this film, both in this country and abroad. Because this film is our beautiful daughter’s tragic legacy.”
She issued the following statement at the film’s premier:
“We will never again see our beautiful daughter Kayleigh.
We won’t be able to cuddle her, to care for her or be able to protect her.
My heart aches every minute of every day. So does her father Martin’s and her brother Kyle’s, the hearts of our other children and of all those who knew and loved Kayleigh.
Our world changed forever the day that Kayleigh received that Facebook message. But we are determined that Kayleigh lives on, and not just in our hearts.
We want her to help protect children—today and in the future. When the police asked us, last December, if they could make a film about Kayleigh, we didn’t hesitate to give them our total support.
We wanted this film made. It serves as a warning—to children and to parents—of the very real dangers of online grooming.
We want every child aged 11 and upwards to see this film, both in this country and abroad. Because this film is our beautiful daughter’s tragic legacy.”
Share this message, and make sure this never happens to another child again. Let’s spread awareness, and keep our kids safe!