Parents are being warned to contact police if a person claiming to be a ‘girl named Ava Taylor’ messages their child on Instagram.
It’s believed a man is posing as a 13-year-old girl called Ava and sending requests to children on the picture sharing app.
The warning was first issued at a school in Bristol, where a number of students were contacted.
As per Bristol Live, a message sent to parents from Oasis Academy in Brislington read:
Oasis Academy Brislington SAFEGUARDING MESSAGE.
We have received information that a male is contacting young people on Instagram claiming to be a 13 year old girl.
He is communicating under the name ‘Ava Taylor’.
Please be aware and ensure you discuss this with your child. If you have any concerns please contact us or the Police.
It’s believed the man’s Instagram page is filled with ‘horrible pictures and videos’ according to the publication.
One parent said her son had received a request, but fortunately he quickly realised it was suspicious.
A spokesperson for the school told Bristol Live:
Our highest priority is the safety and wellbeing of our students and staff.
If one of our academies are made aware of any safeguarding risks they follow strict protocols to make the situation safe.
As per our procedures, Oasis Academy Brislington sent out a communication to parents at the end of last week to be vigilant with regards to their child’s social media activities following reports that a local young person had received inappropriate messages from an unknown source.
As at all of our academies, Oasis Academy Brislington has a continuous schedule of age-appropriate lessons and assemblies for all of our students on how to stay safe, including staying safe online.
We work closely with our partners at Avon and Somerset police on all safeguarding issues.
Should any of our parents have any concerns on this or any other issue, they are encouraged to contact their academy directly.
Instagram has set out guidelines on what to do if you discover an account which you believe to be fake. First of all you need to go on the fake account and tap the icon in the top right corner. It’ll give you a drop down of options and you need to tap ‘report.’
You will then be asked to decide whether it’s ‘spam’ or ‘inappropriate’. Given the circumstances, it sounds like this account would need to be labelled as inappropriate. This will automatically block the account too.
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Emma Rosemurgey is an NCTJ trained Journalist at UNILAD. She graduated from the University of Central Lancashire in Preston and started her career in regional newspapers before joining the LADbible Group team in 2017.