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Seeking support online

Being safer when seeking support

Online spaces are a great way to find support from others. It offers the opportunity to be able to connect with professionals who can offer advice and help, or people who are going through similar problems to you or have gone through them in the past.

No matter how helpful someone appears to be, it is still important to be cautious about who is offering support.

Unfortunately, some people target and take advantage of young people who are feeling lonely, isolated and looking for support. They might begin by offering support, but then try and get young people to do things they don’t want to do, like putting them under pressure to do or talk about sexual things.

If you are worried about someone who is offering you support online, or someone is trying to pressure you to do something you don’t want to do, speak to a trusted adult or report it to CEOP, where a specialist child protection adviser will support you.

Things to consider if you're seeking support online

  • Keep private information to yourself. It is best to keep some information, like your full name, address and school, private when you’re speaking to someone you don’t know in real life. If someone asks you to share this information, you don’t have to tell them. If they don’t take no for an answer and keep pressuring you, it is best to block and report them.
  • Stick to trusted services. There are lots of trustworthy places to get advice online such as ChildlineThe Mix and YoungMinds. These official sites check and moderate advice and posts. Be mindful of websites not checked by professionals, where people want to send you private messages or chat over video. These  interactions won’t be monitored or supported . It is safest not to respond to people who ask you to do this.
  • There is support offline too. Online may seem like the best place to seek support, but there are plenty of support services offline as well. Sometimes human interaction may make you feel more comfortable to talk about how you’re feeling. It’s can also be really helpful to talk to an adult you trust. 

There are times in our life when we feel lonely and isolated. Whether that’s from family issues, relationships problems, differences with friends, or even scrolling online. 

Seeing endless photos and videos of people having a good time can make you feel worse about your own situation, even though things people post on social media are only a glimpse of reality.

There is nothing to be ashamed about, and there are lots of ways you can get help if you’re feeling this way.

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If you are under 18, report online sexual abuse to one of our Child Protection Advisors at the CEOP Safety Centre.

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If you're over 18, call 101 to speak to your local police. 

In an emergency

If you're ever in immediate harm or danger: 

  • Call the police on 999 straight away
  • Tell an adult you trust who will be able to support you through a difficult time

Talk to someone

Childline logo

Free, confidential support online and over the phone for young people under 19.

www.childline.org.uk

Call 0800 1111

The Mix logo

The Mix is a charity that provides free information and support for under 25s.

www.themix.org.uk

Use their crisis messenger by texting THEMIX to 85258.

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Support services

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Information on places you can go for help if you need it.