The Cyber Trap
The radio was playing a soothing song by one of Nina’s favourite musicians. Having prepared tea for herself, she sat down to enjoy the peace of the morning. Soon, it would be time for her daughter to wake up, and Nina would have to prepare breakfast and get ready for work. This half-hour in the morning was what she enjoyed the most.
Ting! Ting! Ting!
The sound startled her for a moment. Then, seeing her daughter’s phone lying on the table, she realized that the sound was the notifications on it. Even though it was strange for a twelve-year-old to get so many messages at five in the morning, she decided not to look. But then, the phone kept chiming and the messages kept flooding in. Nina could not help but look. She picked up the phone and saw that all the notifications were from Instagram. She was not aware of her daughter being on social media, and on trying to view the messages, she found her phone to be protected by a password. It had never been like that before. Not sure of what to do about it, or even if anything was disconcerting, she decided to drop the matter for the moment.
After sending her daughter to school, she decided to bring up the topic that evening, and Nina left for work. The day went as usual, and soon, she forgot all about what had happened that morning. It would’ve stayed that way, had she not found her daughter frantically texting someone when she returned home. She remembered all that was to be said and joined her daughter on the sofa.
“Hey! I haven’t talked to you in a while. How was your day?” Nina asked.
“It was fine, as usual," she said, not even lifting her head from the screen.
“Well, I couldn’t help but notice, your phone was chiming a lot this morning. Was it one of your friends? Is everything alright?”
The girl looked a little alarmed, then regaining her composure, she asked her mother if she had looked into her phone.
“I could not, since it was locked. But I do know that you are on social media.”
Now, the girl looked really shocked. Seeing her expression, Nina asked her not to worry, for she was not angry about anything. She also asked her if anything was wrong since she appeared to be vexed.
For a moment, her daughter did not say anything. Nina waited. She had always been open and frank with her daughter. She sensed something was wrong and was determined to wait patiently for her to speak.
She did. Speaking hesitantly, she told her mother about how someone had texted her on Instagram, and they started talking regularly. He seemed to be older than her and had started asking for her pictures. When she had refused, he tried to convince her by saying they were friends and he wanted to see what she looked like. When he had kept at it, she blocked him, but he kept messaging her from different accounts.
Nina listened in horror. No words could describe what she felt at that moment. She was worried about her daughter and felt dejected at not having noticed it before. But most of all, she was angry; not at her daughter, but at the person who she had been texting. There was no way she was going to let him get away.
Her daughter asked her if she was angry, to which she said, “Of course not! This is not your fault. Don’t worry, I will take care of it. And whenever there is anything that troubles you in the future, you can come to me, okay?”
The girl was relieved. Nina decided to report the user to the cybercrime department, immediately.
Nina was glad to have talked to her child, and been successful in helping her out. She shuddered to think how it would have ended if she had not stepped in on time.