Do you really know who you’re talking to online?
It’s great to be able to chat and play with your friends online but it’s important to make sure you keep safe.
Unfortunately, some people use the internet to trick, pressure or force children and young people into sex.
They use sites and apps that children and young people use to chat, game or find support.
When online, its easy to pretend to be someone you’re not.
What are the warning signs?
Here are some warning signs they could be an abuser:
- They share all of your interests and give you lots of attention
- They make you feel good about pictures on your profile
- They talk about sex and send explicit pictures or videos
- They ask you to send them explicit pictures. Remember, if you send one they could threaten to share it with your friends or family if you don’t do what they want
- They ask to talk to you in private using an app or ask for your phone number
- They ask you to keep your chats secret
- They tell you their webcam is broken. Remember, it’s easy to record and fake a webcam video
How can I keep safe?
- Never use your real name online
- Don’t share personal information like your phone number, address, school / college or places where you hang out
- Don’t use a sexy username or post sexy pictures on your profile
- Keep your profiles private and be careful who you add as a friend
- Block people who only want to talk about sex
- If they say they know your friends, check this out
- Don’t send pictures you wouldn’t show your friends or family
- Don’t do anything embarrassing on webcam. Remember, it’s illegal to take or share erotic images of anyone under 18, even if you’re the person in the picture
- Listen to your gut feelings. If something feels wrong, end the conversation and tell someone you trust
If you haven’t met someone in real life, how can you be sure who you’re chatting to?
It’s never a good idea to share your location or meet up with someone you’ve met online. But if you do decide to meet up:
- Always meet in an area you know and stay in a busy public place
- Take a trusted and responsible adult with you, not a friend. If the person you’re meeting isn’t being honest, taking a friend will put you both at risk
- Make sure a friend or family member knows who you are meeting, where you are going, what his / her phone number is and when you’ll be back
- Listen to your gut feelings. If something feels wrong, stay in a busy public place and call someone you trust. If you are worried that you may be in danger, phone the Police on 101
- Don’t accept a lift from the person you’re meeting, even if they seem nice
- Charge your phone before you meet and keep your phone with you
Where can I get help and advice?
If you are worried about yourself or someone you knows safety on line, there are some organisations that can help.
- Childline If you’re under 18 and an indecent or nude pic of you is posted online, that’s illegal. But ChildLine can help, They can talk about what might happen and talking to them is confidential.
- CEOP Has someone acted inappropriately towards you online? It may be sexual chat, being asked to do something that makes you feel uncomfortable or someone being insistent on meeting up. You can report it to the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (CEOP):
- ThinkUknow The latest information on the sites you like to visit, mobiles and new technology. Find out what’s good, what’s not and what you can do about it.
- Childnet A non-profit organisation working with others to help make the internet a great and safe place for children.
- Revenge Porn Helpline Call the helpline for free, confidential advice and support. Whilst they cannot guarantee removal of all images online, their exceptional partnerships with internet industry partners allows them to minimise the reach, and some of the harm caused by revenge porn.
If someone is forcing you to send an inappropriate image of yourself you should report them to the Police by calling 101.