Q & A
What is grooming?
Some adults want to have sex with young people. This is called child sexual abuse, and it is against the law.
‘Grooming’ is the way in which an adult might try to build a relationship with a young person to get them to think that it’s ok to have sex with them. The adult might also try to make the young person feel like they are somehow to blame for the sexual abuse. This is wrong – it is never, ever the young person’s fault.
Grooming happens in different ways – for example, the adult might convince the young person that they are in a loving relationship together, or that they are the only person they can trust and talk to. In other cases, the adult might pretend to be another young person online, and start relationships with other young people.
If you're worried that someone might be grooming you or a friend online, report it to CEOP. The CEOP child protection advisors will be able to help you.
My boyfriend/girlfriend wants to have sex but I don’t feel ready. I’m scared they will end it if I don’t. What should I do?
No one should ever make another person feel pressured into sexual activity, including their boyfriend or girlfriend.
Remember, it is against the law for someone to have sex with an under-16 year old. It is considered an especially serious crime if the young person is under 13.
An important part of a relationship is honest and open communication. Try to explain the way that you are feeling to your boyfriend or girlfriend. If a partner truly cares for you, they will understand how you’re feeling and respect your decision. If your partner tries to pressure you to change your mind, they are not the right person for you.
If someone is trying to pressure you into having sex, this is not OK. Tell an adult you trust, talk to someone at Childline, or report to CEOP.
My boyfriend keeps buying me presents and then says that I need to have sex with him but I don’t want to. Is this ok?
You should never feel under pressure to have sex. Buying you presents in order to try to pressure you into having sex is wrong, and it is a crime. If someone pressures, forces or tries to guilt-trip their partner into having sex, this is abuse. If you are worried this is happening to you or someone you know, tell an adult you trust, talk to a Childline counsellor, and/or report to CEOP.
Find out more about the signs of being used in a relationship and how to get help.
What’s wrong with watching porn?
People watch pornography for many different reasons, but it’s important to remember that porn does not represent reality.
Sex in pornography is often not like sex in real life. It often features sexual activities that many people, in reality, don’t find comfortable or enjoyable. The actors ‘ bodies are usually quite different to the average person’s body in real life – both male and female.
Pornography is also often aggressive, and doesn’t show consent between actors or safe sex practices, like using a condom.
If you have seen something in pornography which made you feel worried or uncomfortable, or are concerned about the impact that watching pornography might be having on you, talk to an adult you trust. If you prefer to talk to someone who doesn’t know you, you could chat to a Childline counsellor on the phone or online.
I tried to look at something on a porn site and there’s a message telling me I’ve committed a crime and I’ve got to pay a fine. Is it real? What should I do?
Unfortunately, some criminals use the internet in this way to blackmail people into sending them money. Never enter any card details into pop-up windows, emails or messages from anyone claiming that you have committed a crime, or saying that something bad will happen if you do not pay them. Tell an adult you trust, or report to CEOP. CEOP will support you and will not blame you in any way for what has happened.