LATEST: Ballycastle councillor calls for vigilance over social media grooming

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A Ballycastle SDLP councillor has has urged young people to be extremely careful who they add as friends on social media.

Chairman of Moyle District Council, Donal Cunningham, was speaking after an incident in Ballycastle came to light last weekend.

Cllr Cunningham made the call following confirmation from police that officers from the specialist Public Protection Unit are investigating a child protection matter in the Ballycastle area after reports alleging an individual using social media to groom teenagers.

The issue was raised on Sunday when parents began to post warnings on their Facebook pages saying that an attempt had been made by someone to meet up with a local teenager.

It is believed that the individual had asked to meet up with the teenager after claiming to be holidaying in Ballycastle.

The teenager asked a friend to accompany her to the meeting but the friend informed an adult who intervened.

Cllr Cunningham continued: “Social networking sites on the internet are a great tool for young people to connect with others, share photos, videos and personal messages but everyone needs to know the risks associated with these sites, said Cllr Cunningham.

“It’s important that everyone, but particularly young people, are vigilant online and don’t reveal personal details to people they don’t know.

“I would advise anyone who sees anything or comes across anyone on the internet that makes them worried, afraid or uncomfortable to tell a trusted adult such as a parent, teacher or friend.”