'It's got the shock factor' - New film set in Wester Hailes warns of online grooming danger

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A mother and daughter from Wester Hailes have created a short film about online grooming to educate families about the danger of internet friends.

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Single mum Kerry Clifton, 46, from Wester Hailes, described herself as a “secret writer” who loves to create stories in her spare time.The single mum’s 10-year-old daughter Sophie Clifton inherited her mum’s creative genes and s already establishing herself as a child actor.During lockdown, the pair decided to put their talents to good use and have created a short film, Dark Devices, which aims to help keep children safe by educating parents about the dangers of the internet.Written by Ms Clifton, the project is already gained interest from big production companies and may be shown on the popular video platform, Amazon Prime.The film follows 12-year-old Lucy, played by Sophie, who struggles to cope after her parent's divorce and turns to the internet to film sympathy and understanding.Lucy strikes up a friendship with a stranger and is convinced to meet them in person, the film deals with dark themes but will be suitable for all audiences.Ms Clifton said: “The film has a shock factor but it is done in a tactful way, everyone can watch it.”The story has been inspired in part by a nameless friend of Ms Clifton whose daughter became friends will a person online who turned out to be a much older man.While the relationship was discovered before an in-person meeting could take place Ms Clifton warns: “it could have been a very different story”.Filming for the project will take place in the summer of 2022 and the production team plan to use Wester Hailes as the location.Planning to involve the whole community in the project, Ms Clifton said: “The film will be shot in Wester Hailes and we want to give as many parts to local people as possible.“Sophie has been lucky to already have has quite a few parts since she started acing during lockdown but she knows it’s not the same for other children who want to act.“Usually child actors come from a higher social class and she said she wanted to do something to help other children like her get their first role.“Not many people in Wester Hailes believe in themselves so shooting here and giving roles to people from the local area is important to us both.“It’s going to give us all a real sense of pride and achievement, especially for people who have dreamed of being of actors but thought it was something they couldn’t do.”The mother-and-daughter duo said this film is not only ‘important’ both for the young actors who will be able to see themselves on film for the first time but also to the wider community due to the important themes it tackles.Ms Clifton said: “The film is about how important it is to check who your children are talking to online but it also touches on addiction, mental health and bullying.”All money raised from the film will go to a charity that supports children who have suffered trauma. To donate to the project CLICK HERE.

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Sophie Clifton, 10, started acting aged six.Sophie Clifton, 10, started acting aged six.
Sophie Clifton, 10, started acting aged six.

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