Q & A
Someone I know online keeps asking me to send them naked images, are they just being nice to me to take advantage or use me?
No one should ever make you feel forced into sending or sharing anything that you don’t feel comfortable with. If it’s someone you like, and they like you, they should understand that you’re not happy about doing this.
It is enough for you to say no, once. If they keep asking, they are not being respectful.
Some people like to say no by sending something funny back. Download the Zipit app from Childline to get loads of funny photos you can send.
If it’s someone you’ve never met face-to-face then it’s safest to ignore or block them, tell an adult you trust, and report the person to CEOP. It is illegal for an adult to ask a young person to send them a nude image or video. If an adult is asking you to share nude images, it’s important that you seek help. Report it to CEOP – a specialist child protection advisor will be able to support you.
I am gay. Where can I go online to meet other gay people and get support?
The best places to go for support and connect with people with similar experiences to yours are organisations which support LGBT young people.
You can talk to someone at Young Stonewall for advice on things relating to being gay, lesbian or bisexual. Call them on 08000 502020, email them at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit their website for more information - www.youngstonewall.org.uk. There's support for transgender young people at Mermaids.
LGBT Youth Scotlandalso have some great advice and information for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender young people throughout the UK, with additional information about services based in Scotland. Call them on 0131 555 3940 or visit their website for more informationwww.lgbtyouth.org.uk.
Childline have message boards on sexuality and gender identity for young people to share their experiences, and get support from other young people in similar situations. Childline also has further information and advice for young people about sexual orientation and gender identity.
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?
Chatting to people online can be fun and exciting. Most people online are genuine, but some people do lie about who they are, and try to build relationships with people online with the intention of taking advantage of them in real life.
It is not safe to meet up with someone you have met online.
If despite this, you do decide to meet up with someone you have met online, you should always go with an adult you trust (like a parent or carer) and meet in a public place.
If you're worried about your safety or think you are in danger you should call 999.
Can I use dating sites and apps if I’m under 18?
Most well-known dating sites are for over 18s only, due to the risks associated with meeting strangers.
Those sites which do exist for young people under the age of 18 may not be genuine websites and may potentially be phishing for your personal information. It is not advisable to use any online dating sites when you are under 18 years old.
It is illegal for an adult to engage in sexual chat or sexual activity with a child. It is only the adult who is responsible for the crime; it is never the child’s fault. If you are worried about something that has happened on an online dating site or another kind of app or site, tell an adult you trust, talk to Childline or report to CEOP. Remember, it is not your fault.
I sent a naked picture of myself to someone I met online and they said they’d send it to all my friends if I don’t send them more. What can I do?
Don’t panic. There is lots of help and support you can access.
If someone is threatening you in this way, they are committing a serious crime. Tell an adult you trust, or report what is happening to CEOP. CEOP will help you, and we will not blame you or judge you in any way. We deal with lots of cases like this.
If you need to talk to someone but aren’t ready to tell someone you know, you could also talk to a counsellor at Childline, at any time of day or night, on 0800 11 11 or online.
Most often, the person making these threats will not share the pictures, even when they have threatened to. It’s important not to send any more pictures, and better not to respond to the person who is threatening you.
Learn more about how to get help if you are worried.