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"When Clare was 12 I sat with her at the computer one afternoon as she tried a teen chatroom for the first time. She had just come in from school - it was about 4 pm. I watched her chat to a couple of young people from southern England, and a couple of 14-year-old girls from the USA. Suddenly I realised that there was something very odd going on..." from Marie, mother of Clare, now 14, and Antony, 11

Can you work out what was wrong? Here's a clue: remember time zones vary around the world.


In the USA the time is not the same as it is the UK. America is "behind us". When it is 4 pm in the UK it is only 12 noon in New York and even earlier, 9 am, in Los Angeles on the other side of the country. Either way, schoolgirls in America should be in school at that time, not, as they claimed, at home "babysitting".

Whoever these people were, and wherever they lived, they could not have been who they said they were. They were pretending to be American schoolgirls. They could have been any age, and from anywhere in the world. They were not saying anything bad, but they were certainly telling lies about who they were.

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