Q & A

  • I’ve met someone online, we get on really well and it feels like they really understand me. We talk for hours every night and we share everything with each other. They’ve now suggested we meet up. What should I do?

    Just remember that people can easily lie about who they are online. Some people may try to build relationships online with the intention of taking advantage of someone in real-life.

    If anything happens that makes you feel nervous or you get a funny feeling about something, trust your instincts - they’re probably correct. Tell a trusted adult, call 999 or report to CEOP if you’re worried about something that’s happened.

    It’s always risky to meet up with someone you’ve met online so if you do decide to meet them follow these common sense rules:

    - Always meet and stay in a busy public place.

    - Do take a trusted, responsible adult with you, not a friend. If the person you’re meeting with 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 and when you’ll be back.

    - Don’t accept a lift from the person you’re meeting.

    - Stay sober.

    - Take your mobile phone, keep it switched on and topped up with credit.

    - Your personal belongings can be stolen, don’t leave them unattended.

    If you’re worried about your safety or think you are in danger you should call 999.

  • What is ‘sexting’?

    'Sexting' is another term for ‘indecent’ images which people have taken of themselves and sent to someone else or posted online.

    There’s no legal definition of ‘indecent’ but basically if it’s naked, a topless girl, contains genitals or sex acts, including masturbation, then it will be indecent.

    As a general rule if you wouldn’t show it to your parents or your gran, you probably shouldn’t share it online!

    Find out more about how to stay in control of the pictures and videos you share here.

  • I’ve been sent a lot of pics over the last few months, but I didn’t know it was illegal! What do I do now?

    If you have been sent photos which you are worried about, the first thing to do is not panic. If you’ve been sharing pictures with a boyfriend or girlfriend then talk to them about the fact that it’s really risky (and illegal!) and tell them that you should both stop doing it. Remember, there are lots of other ways to let each other know that you care. You should then delete the photos from your phone or online.

    If the images are of someone else, perhaps a girl or boy at school, and then they might be at risk. It would be a good idea to talk to someone that you trust about the images for example a parent or carer or a teacher. You might find it embarrassing or difficult but they will be aware that this happens and be able to help. Under no circumstances should you send on the images to anybody else.

    Find out more about how to stay in control of the pictures and videos you share here.

  • I’ve shown my friends a naked pic of my boyfriend. Was it illegal for me to do that?

    It’s against the law to have naked pictures or videos of someone under 18, that includes taking the photo, sending it on, or keeping any naked images you’ve been sent.

    The law is like this to protect young people from adults who sexually abuse them and take photos or videos of the abuse. But even if it’s a picture which you or your boyfriend or girlfriend has taken, it is against the law, and you definitely shouldn’t share naked or indecent pictures of anyone else without their consent.

    Although you probably wouldn’t get in trouble with the police, you could cause your boyfriend serious distress and get yourself in serious trouble at school. Remember, if you threaten or pressure anyone to share naked pictures with you then you could get in trouble with the police.

    You should delete any pictures you have on your mobile or computer and ask anyone you’ve shared these pictures with to do the same.

    Find out more about how to stay in control of the pictures and videos you share here.

  • I’ve heard someone say webcams can be hacked, is that true?

    It’s not very common but yes, if a computer has downloaded malware there’s a risk that things like webcams could be controlled by another computer. This is known as ratting ratting.

    Pop ups and some other types of adverts can install malware on a computer without you knowing- this type of issue is commonly reported where people have visited certain websites, such as porn sites.

    You can find advice on blocking pop-ups and other adverts here.