A real friend would never do that! Recognising and reporting online abuse
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If you enjoy spending time online, it is important to be aware that there are some adults who use the internet to take advantage of young people and pressure them in to doing something sexual. A common situation is for a child or young person under 18 to receive a private message from an adult asking them to share nude pictures or videos of themselves. This is online sexual exploitation and it is not ok.
The Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) has made a film to tell children and young people about things some adults may say or do online to get them to share pictures or videos of themselves. The IWF has discovered that girls aged 11 to 13 are more at risk, so this film focuses on girls, but it’s important to know that this can happen to anyone, no matter what their gender or background.
There are three simple steps in the film to remember: BLOCK. REPORT. TELL SOMEONE YOU TRUST.
Share this important message with your friends!
What is online grooming
Online grooming is when adult abusers (or groomers) build a relationship with a child or young person online so that they can abuse them. Some groomers will spend a lot of time being friendly and caring with one person, while others will try contacting as many children and young people as they can, hoping that someone will reply.
People online may not be who they say they are
A groomer might use a fake profile to trick you and lie about their age, what they look like, their gender and hobbies – just to make you like and trust them. But not all groomers lie about their age and identity, some can be younger and come across as friendly and funny. It can be very difficult to know who to trust, but there are some signs to look out for:
- Giving you lots of attention
- Pretending to be your friend
- Giving you virtual or real gifts
- Trying to get you to do things you don’t want to do
- Talking about sex
- Daring you to share nude (or nearly nude) pictures or videos.
A real friend would never want to make you feel uncomfortable. If you are talking to someone online and they start talking about sex or asking you to send nudes, then this is not ok, this is online sexual abuse.
What to do
If someone online asks you to do things that are not ok, like sharing personal information or asking to see you naked, keep yourself safe by following these three simple steps:
How to report - CEOP
If you are worried about someone you have met online or you are worried this is happening to a friend, you can report this to CEOP.
CEOP are a part of the police that are responsible for keeping children and young people under 18 safe from online sexual exploitation and abuse.
When you make a report you will be contacted by one of their Child Protection Advisors by email or phone. They will talk to you about your report and put a plan in place. Your safety and well-being will be protected and they will work with you and other safety professionals to help.
Other support services
If you have already sent a nude picture or video, and you are worried that you have now lost control of it, then you can get help to get it removed from the internet by making a report to Report Remove on the Childline website.
If you or someone you know are in immediate danger call 999.