Posting pictures and videos
Lots of young people use social media to share photos and videos. This might be a pic of yourself, a video of something funny happening, or a stream whilst gaming. Sharing pictures and videos can be a good way to connect with friends, or start conversations with new people.
It can feel great when people say nice things about pictures you’ve posted of yourself. But once a picture has been posted, it can be difficult to delete it from the internet or other people’s phones. When photos and videos are shared online there’s a chance they can be kept and shared by other people. This can be really hurtful if done without the knowledge of the person in the image or video.
Making pictures private
If you’re sharing personal pictures that you don’t want everyone to see, check your privacy settings.
By default, lots of social networks set up new accounts as public. Making an account private can stop people you don’t know viewing your content on apps like Instagram, TikTok or Snapchat.
If you do decide to create a public profile, you can change your settings so that personal photos and videos can only be seen by small groups of friends.
Sharing pictures of others
It’s important to be even more careful when posting pictures and videos of other people.
Sometimes people share photos or videos of other people without their consent (permission). Either to make fun of the person in the image, or because they shared it without thinking. Always ask the person in the photo before sharing it.
It’s never okay to share other people’s nudes (naked or semi-naked images). Find more information about sharing nudes of others here.
Remember – it’s never too late to get help if you’ve shared something online that you’re worried about. Read our ‘Worried about a picture you’ve shared?’ advice below.
Things to remember about posting pictures and videos
Always get consent before posting a photo of someone else
If you’ve taken a picture or video of your friends or family make sure you have their permission before posting it online. Think about if it could upset or embarrass them. If you were them, would you want it shared? If you think the answer might be no, then go and ask them or don’t post it at all.
Privacy settings can stop other people from seeing your pictures
Find out more about how you can stop people you don’t know from contacting you or commenting on your pictures by reading more about privacy settings.
Naked photos of under 18s are illegal
Taking and sharing naked or ‘sexy’ pictures or videos of people under 18 is illegal, even if you’re taking them of yourself. The law is there to protect young people.
The police work under clear guidance that young people should not be criminalised for sending nude images of themselves.
It’s never okay to share other people’s nudes and in cases like this, there’s the possibility that the police may get involved. Read more about this in our 'When nudes get shared around' article.
Make sure you would be happy with people seeing it months or years later
Photos and videos are a great way of sharing what you’re up to with your friends but remember that it could stay on the internet for a long time.
Worried about a picture or video you've shared?
Here are 5 things you can do:
Take the picture or video down.
Sounds obvious but if you posted it on an app the fastest way to get it down is to remove it yourself. Log on to the site and delete it.
Ask others to delete it.
If someone else has posted it, ask them to take it down . If they won’t do it, speak to an adult you trust or someone in school – your school should have rules about what pupils can post online.
Report it to the website.
If it’s been posted online on a popular website you can make a report to the site or app to ask them to take it down. Most sites have rules to stop people posting embarrassing or hurtful pictures – if the picture or video breaks these rules they should delete it from the site. Find out how to make a report to social media platforms.
Get help if you’re being bullied.
If people are being mean about a picture or sharing a video to embarrass you, talk to an adult you trust. You can post messages and get advice on Childline's Message boards or if you want to speak to someone confidentially you can call Childline on 0800 1111 or talk to one of their counsellors online.
Report if you’re being threatened.
If someone’s threatening to share a picture or video of you that you don’t want other people to see, talk to an adult you trust or report to CEOP. Whatever may have happened CEOP will understand. You won’t be in trouble.
Talk to someone if you're worried about a picture you've shared
Childline is a free helpline for children and young people. You can contact Childline about anything. No problem is too big or too small. Whatever your worry, it's better out than in.
Childline is a private and confidential service. Confidential means not telling anyone else what you’ve said. This means that whatever you say stays between you and Childline.
They would only need to tell someone else if:
- You ask them to
- We believe your life or someone else’s life is in immediate danger
- You are being hurt by someone in a position of trust who has access to other children like a teacher or police officer
- You tell us that you are seriously harming another young person
Call them on 0800 1111. The number won’t appear on your phone bill.
You can also visit www.childline.org.uk to speak to a counsellor online.
Share your experiences with other young people
Talk to other young people about your experiences and get support from a Childline messageboard. There are lots of young people talking about everything from sex and relationships to sport and fashion.
CEOP helps young people who are being sexually abused or are worried that someone they’ve met is trying to abuse them.
If you’ve met someone online, or face to face, and they are putting you under pressure to have sex or making you feel uncomfortable you should report to CEOP.
This might be someone:
- Making you have sex when you donʼt want to
- Chatting about sex online
- Asking you to meet up face to face if youʼve only met them online
- Asking you to do sexual things on camera
- Asking for sexual pictures of you
- Making you feel worried, anxious or unsafe
If this is happening to you, or you’re worried that it might be, you can report this to CEOP.