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Worried about something that's happened online?

The online world can be a positive space where you can keep in touch with friends and make new ones. But the internet can also be negatively used by people to target and hurt others. If you are ever worried about the way someone is communicating with you online or about online sexual abuse, there are steps you can take and lots of people that can help.

It is common to feel a mix of emotions if something happens online that makes you feel worried or uncomfortable. The situation might make you feel confused, angry, embarrassed, betrayed or guilty. You might start feeling these emotions when it happens, or much later on. There are no right or wrong ways to feel and remember you are never to blame.

What to do if you're worried about something online

  • Tell someone. The most important thing to do is tell someone you trust what has happened. Speak to a parent, carer, teacher or other trusted adult. They will understand and be able to help you. Take a look at our tips for having a difficult conversation with an adult.
  • Report to CEOP. If you are worried about online abuse or the way someone has been communicating online, report it to CEOP and they can support you.
  • Contact a support service. If you don’t feel like you can speak to an adult you know and trust, there are plenty of support services that offer free and confidential advice, like Childline and The Mix.
  • Remember it’s not your fault. If someone has pressured, forced or tricked you into sharing naked photos or videos of yourself or anyone else or doing anything you didn’t want to do, this is sexual abuse, and it’s never your fault.
  • Block the person who is contacting you. If you are receiving hurtful messages from someone online, you can block or report them to stop them contacting you. 
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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

Support

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