Mum voices fears over internet message board

Moshi Monsters message board
Moshi Monsters message board

A WORRIED mum called police after a stranger posed as her young daughter’s best friend on the internet and told her not to tell anyone about their conversations.

Stacey Caldwell’s eight-year-old daughter, Madison Wilson, signed up to the Moshi Monsters website where children can adopt a pet monster.

But there is also a public message board feature on the site where children can leave messages for each other.

The Mail reported last month that headteachers Steve McDonnell, of Hart Primary School, and Amanda Baines, of Holy Trinity Primary School, joined forces to warn parents about the site after an adult, pretending to be an eight-year-old boy, made inappropriate comments to a child from outside the area after befriending them on Moshi Monsters.

The latest case comes after someone with a user name contacted Madison, a pupil at Hartlepool’s Rift House Primary School, a month ago, saying: “Hi this is your best friend from school.”

When Madison replied and asked if it was her friend by name, the person said it was her.

They went on to exchange messages over the month, all of which can be read by other users.

Some appeared innocent, but the online friendship became sinister when the person sent a message to Madison, saying: “Hi Maddy, when we’re at school don’t mention Moshi Monsters to each other because I don’t want anyone to talk about, or even other people.”

But when Madison asked her best friend why she could not tell anyone else, her friend said she had not contacted her on the site and she had no idea what she was talking about.

That was when Madison told mum Stacey, who alerted Hartlepool Police and the school.

Shocked Stacey, 30, who lives near Clavering, said she was “mortified” when she saw the messages. Stacey, who has a partner called Andrew Hetherington, a 22-year-old security guard, said: “This someone now knows a lot of information about my daughter.

“Whether it’s to see if they can take it further, I don’t know.

“All Maddy could think about was if somebody was going to kidnap her.”

Stacey, who is also mum to Courtney Wilson, 13, and 15-week-old Lana Hetherington added: “I would advise parents to ask if their children are on Moshi Monsters and make sure that those in their friends section are exactly who they say they are.”

A Cleveland Police spokeswoman said: “Ms Caldwell has been given advice on internet safety.

“Police would advise parents to supervise their children while on internet sites.

“We would also advise any internet users never to give out any credit card details to anyone who requests them.”

Jayne Laycock, headteacher at Rift House Primary School, said: “The safety of our pupils is paramount and we regularly warn children and parents about the potential dangers of the internet.

“We have been made aware of this incident and as a result we have issued a further reminder to all pupils during school assemblies.”