Q & A

  • I’m worried someone’s recorded me on webcam – what should I do?

    If someone has recorded you doing something embarrassing and they’re threatening to share it you should:

    - Stop talking to them and block them.

    - Gather all the information you have (the site it’s happened on, their online names, email addresses, etc.) and immediately tell an adult you trust or, if you don’t want to do that, report them to CEOP. Whatever has happened, CEOP will understand and help to make it stop.

    - If you feel like you need to talk to someone in confidence you can contact ChildLine on 0800 1111.

    Find out more about the risks and how to stay safe on webcam here.

  • My friend’s been stripping over webcam with someone they met online. The other person’s webcam never seems to be working – should my friend be worried?

    Getting naked on cam is never a good idea. Your friend could easily be being recorded by the other person and the videos shared without them knowing about it.

    The internet also makes it very easy for people to hide their identities. Perhaps your friend might think they are talking to someone their age, but there is no way of your friend really knowing who that person is or that what they are doing is being kept private.

    You should encourage your friend to stop contacting the person. If the person is encouraging your friend to strip on webcam they are breaking the law. If they threaten your friend you should report to CEOP. Ideally your friend should save any conversations they have had, and take notes of any personal details that could help identify the other person involved.

    If they won’t stop and you are worried about them then the right thing to do is to tell a trusted adult and get them to help you report what is happening to CEOP.

    If you want to talk to someone in confidence you can contact ChildLine on 0800 1111.

    Find out more about how you can support your friend here.

  • My friend wants to meet up with someone they met online but I don’t think they should – what should I tell them to do?

    You sound like a very supportive friend! You could suggest to your friend that you both join a club or go to a young people's event together where you will have the opportunity to meet other young people with similar interests.

    It they still really want to meet their online friend advise them to follow these common sense rules:

    - Always meet and stay in a busy public place.

    - Do take a trusted, responsible adult with you, not a friend. If the person you’re meeting with isn’t being honest taking a friend will put you both at risk.

    - Make sure a friend or family member knows who you are meeting, where you are going and when you’ll be back.

    - Don’t accept a lift from the person you’re meeting.

    - Stay sober.

    - Take your mobile phone, keep it switched on and topped up with credit.

    - Your personal belongings can be stolen, don’t leave them unattended.

    If you’re worried about your friend's safety or think they are in danger you should call 999.

    Find out more about how you can support your friend here.

  • I’ve been talking to someone online for months – how do I know if they are who they say they are without meeting up with them?

    If you or your friends have never met them in real life then it’s impossible to know for sure. The internet makes it very easy for people to lie about their identity or even pretend to be someone else. Although you can do Google searches on someone to see what you can find, It’s not unheard of for people to set up fake accounts on behalf of someone else, even someone you think you know – think how many fake celebrity profiles are on Twitter!

    Even if you’ve seen pictures of your online friend or chatted with them via webcam you can’t be sure they’re being honest with you about who they are. Pictures can easily be copied, edited and passed off as somebody else’s. What’s more it’s very easy for webcam feeds to be recorded and faked. When you’re chatting to someone via webcam what you’re seeing could be pre-recorded footage of someone else!

    You should always take care not to reveal too much information that could lead someone to find out personal things about you, your family and your friends especially if you live in a small town.

    If you decide you do want to meet with someone, you should follow these common sense rules:

    - Always meet and stay in a busy public place.

    - Do take a trusted, responsible adult with you, not a friend. If the person you’re meeting with isn’t being honest taking a friend will put you both at risk.

    - Make sure a friend or family member knows who you are meeting, where you are going and when you’ll be back.

    - Don’t accept a lift from the person you’re meeting.

    - Stay sober.

    - Take your mobile phone, keep it switched on and topped up with credit.

    - Your personal belongings can be stolen, don’t leave them unattended.

    If you’re worried about your safety or think you are in danger you should call 999.

    Do you really know who you're chatting to online? Find out more here.

  • Can I use dating sites and apps if I’m under 18?

    Young people have many more opportunities than adults to meet new people and make friends, for example, at school, sports clubs, youth clubs etc. Most well-known dating sites are for over 18’s only, due to the dangers 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.

    Find out more about the risks of online dating for young people here.