Lewd and racist Facebook messages devastate Gloucester girl, 12
HUNDREDS of lewd and racist messages have been sent from 12-year-old Laura Streets' hacked Facebook account.
The string of vile emails devastated her family, and Barnwood Park school is keeping watch after the cyber-bullying began before Christmas. The messages were sent to school pals, friends and neighbours.
Her dad Jon Peterson said: "It has been unbelievably cruel. My daughter can't go to school without worrying who might have received one of these messages from her account. We've even had people knocking on the door at home to say 'have you seen what your daughter has sent to me?' I've lost count at how many have been sent but it could be in the hundreds.
"It's been really upsetting for her and my whole family."
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Many of the messages contained racist and sexual content.
The family hasn't involved the police yet but has successfully closed the account down.
Mr Peterson, who twice shut down his daughter's Facebook accounts because she was not old enough to have an account, did not know she had this one – and he has now closed this one down too.
Laura missed a day of school last Tuesday because she was terrified what other girls might be thinking about her.
The school has since been keeping watch on Laura.
Mr Peterson said: "The school has been absolutely brilliant and very supportive."
Barnwood Park deputy head Bryan Gardner said pupils who had received an abusive message from Laura had been told the account had been hacked.
"Our number one priority is the safety of our pupils," he said. "We have sought to reassure Laura that if this happens again, to tell us."
A police spokesman said: "This is a stark reminder of the importance of internet safety and keeping your passwords and other sensitive information secure.
"We would urge parents to discuss the type of issues that can crop up when using social media sites and to read through Facebook's own guidance about such matters."
A Facebook spokesman said the best advice on setting a password, and how to reset it if a user believes it has been hacked, is at www.facebook.com/safety/tools.
They said when anyone younger than 13 tries to register it prevents them from doing so, and when it finds underage users on the site, it permanently deletes the accounts.