It’s hard enough when they’re here ...

Kate Livingstone
Kate Livingstone
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Letting your child head off on holiday with their friends for the first time is a stressful experience for any parent.

Finally accepting that your son or daughter is big enough to stand on their own two feet is a big step - so I can’t imagine the shock felt by the parents of those two young girls arrested in Peru.

One day they think their daughters are having the time of their lives in Ibiza, next thing they get a call from the Foreign Office to say they’re in South America.

I remember the first time my Emma headed off to Zante with her friends. She was one of the youngest in her class at school and when the summer holidays came at the end of her 6th year, she was just 17. She begged and begged to be allowed to go and I eventually relented.

There were six of them altogether, and we waved them off at Glasgow Airport - clutching their little portable boom box, which no doubt annoyed their holiday neighbours greatly.

This was in the days before mobile phones and Facebook - and the only contact for the whole week was through a couple of two minute phone calls.

I hardly slept the whole time she was away. They did come home just about in one piece, and repeated the same scenario for the next few years until Emma met John and started going on more civilised holidays!

Technology now means we can keep in touch so much better than ever before - even if they’re just away for a couple of days up north I get texts and photos of whatever Jack and Sophie have been up to that day.

They even Skype-called me from the beach to show me their sandcastle the other week. I don’t really understand how all these things work but I love seeing their wee faces having so much fun.

And although keeping in touch is good, I doubt I’d have wanted to see what Emma got up to on those first times abroad!

Sun, sea and sangria might loosen inhibitions on that dream holiday, but I don’t imagine that for the family of those poor girls in Peru there’s going to be a happy ending to this nightmare soon.