Things you see online

No one rules the internet. This is one of the amazing things about it. You can say almost anything you want, be as creative as you like and share your ideas with the world.

It also means there is nothing to stop other people making websites, posting videos or saying things that you disagree with, or don’t want to see at all.

Not everything you see online is true

All sorts of people create blogs and websites and can say anything they want, even if it’s not true. They can even make incredible pictures which look real but aren’t, like this one.

Don’t always believe what you see.  If you’re not sure ask an adult like a parent or your teacher.

For more advice, read Childline’s helpful tips on how to spot whether something is true or not.

I did NOT want to see that

There will be things you see online that might make you feel uncomfortable, upset or even scared. It’s normal to feel confused or upset by things you don’t feel ready for. You should never feel forced to look at something you don’t want to see.

3 things you might not want to see

It’s really important that you feel safe when you’re searching online and understand some of the things you could see.

  1. Pornography.

    It’s no secret there’s porn on the internet. For many young people, their first time seeing porn is an accident and it is normal to feel shocked, anxious or even disgusted at what you see.  Adults look at porn for lots of different reasons but if you’re curious about sex, porn is a not a good way to learn out about it. This is because the things people do in porn are very different from sex in the real world and this might impact on your behaviour, thoughts and feelings about real relationships and sex in the future. Watching porn can have a damaging effect on young people so if you want to find out more about sex, relationships and your body it is better to visit a website like  Brook.

  2. Unwanted nudes.

    Lots of people, including adults and children, feel more confident online than they do face-to-face. This means that sometimes they share things they shouldn’t, like pictures of themselves not wearing many clothes, or even naked.. Unfortunately, many adults and children receive nude pictures that they do not want and this can make them feel shocked, hurt or angry. It’s illegal for under 18s to share nude images of themselves with others and the police could get involved if a young person sends images of themselves to someone who doesn’t want to receive them. If you receive an unwanted nude picture, you can report it to CEOP, block the sender and speak to an adult you trust. Read more about this in our 'Receiving unwanted nudes' article. 

  3. Sexual messages or comments.

    Some people share sexual messages with their boyfriend or girlfriend as a way to flirt.. But sometimes sexual messages are received or seen when they don’t want to be. It might have been sent by accident or deliberately. If someone has sent you a sexual message, you can report it to CEOP, block the sender and speak to a trusted adult.

Worried about something you've seen online?

Talk to an adult you trust, like a parent, carer or teacher.

You can also talk to Childline at at any time.

Childline

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
  • They 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 at the Childline message boards. There are lots of young people talking about everything from sex and relationships to sport and fashion.

Childline messageboard