Breck Bednar, a 14-year-old boy who loved gaming, was groomed online and murdered in 2014. His mother, Lorin LaFave, was worried – would her pleas for help from police have been taken more seriously if he’d been a girl?
It’s a legitimate question. We tend to think boys playing games online are just being boys, and the people they talk to are just other gamers. That may be, but it’s also obvious that not everyone on a gaming site is who they say they are, and preteen and teenage boys are impressionable.
On the other hand, was the mother’s request for an investigation ignored because there hadn’t been anything sexual involved in the conversations? Have we assumed that we know what grooming looks like based on the idea that it’s always strange, middle-aged men sending illicit photos to young girls?
We shouldn’t limit ourselves to that narrative. It misses out on a lot.
Photo by jDevaun.Photography