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Group chats

Group chats are places where you can talk to more than one person at the same time. You can do this on dedicated apps, messaging apps, social media platforms or online games.

Some people create group chats for close friends. But other groups have hundreds or even thousands of people in. These can be people from the same school or area, or people from across the world. 

Group chats provide an easy way to:

  • have a laugh with friends
  • organize events
  • discuss school work
  • chat about games or hobbies

However, sometimes the things that are shared in group chats hurt other people. This could involve bullying, sexual harassment or sharing nudes.

Creating positive group spaces

Group chats can be positive spaces if:

  • You support and respect each other. Real friends are kind and support each other through difficult times. They don’t make jokes which might embarrass another person.
  • You call out rude comments. If you feel comfortable to, challenge anyone making rude comments or jokes about people you know. They will be less likely to say horrible things again if they know others don’t agree with them.
  • You ask before you share information about people you know. Don’t share personal information about friends in group chats with other people. This could hurt and humiliate them.

Tips for safer group spaces

  1. Speak to an adult if nasty messages are being sent. It doesn’t matter if the messages are about you or someone else - you don’t need to deal with it alone. Teachers are responsible for supporting students who are being bullied or embarrassed online, even if it’s happening outside of school or college hours. You could also speak to a family member or contact a support service.
  2. Avoid group chats with lots of people you don’t know. Joining group chats with people you don’t know could put you in uncomfortable situations. People you don’t know could send inappropriate content, or they might pressure you to do things you don’t want to do. If you’re ever put under pressure online it’s never your fault and you can get help.
  3. Check your privacy settingsSee if you can change the settings on your app to make sure that only contacts, friends or followers can add you into group chats. This means you’ll be less likely to receive inappropriate content and things you don’t want to see.
  4. Leave the group if you don’t feel comfortable. Don’t laugh along with something that’s upsetting or embarrassing, either to you or someone else. Even adding an emoji or commenting on what’s said could encourage more mean comments. Leaving the chat will show you don’t agree with that behaviour.
  5. Remember that it’s difficult to delete comments and photos that have been shared with groups. Once the messages have been read by recipients, it’s difficult to take them back. Make sure you think about what you share with large groups of people. Keep your messages kind and respectful.

It is illegal for nudes of under 18s to be shared in group chats. Read our advice on what to do if nudes get shared around.  

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