Do you video chat on FaceTime, WhatsApp, Skype or any other apps?
It’s a great way to stay in touch with friends and family. But what about people you’ve not met face to face? Do you video chat with strangers?
Some people online genuinely just want to chat. But there are a few people out there, girls and boys, men and women, who use video chat to try to hurt young people. They ask you to video chat and then get you to do things you might be embarrassed about.
They might flirt with you, flatter you or send you sexy pictures. They will try to convince you that it’s ok to talk to them about sex. Then they will ask you to send them pictures of yourself or go naked on a video chat or live stream. They might ask you to touch yourself or do other sexual things.
It’s easy to get carried away on video chat. Video chatting can be fun, exciting and feel sexy.
It can feel really private. BUT - video chat is not private.
Anything you do can be recorded and shared.
If you do something you wouldn’t want your parents or friends to see, it could be recorded. Then you might get:
‘if you don’t do this for me I’m going to post this video on YouTube, or share it with your friends’
With an embarrassing video of you these people could try to force you to make more sexual videos and do things you don’t want to do. They could threaten to share the embarrassing picture or video with your family or friends.
Lies and truths
Here are some lies people tell. It's important you know the facts.
“If you do this for me I’ll leave you alone”
The more you do for them the more power they will think they have. The best thing if someone threatens you online is to get up, walk away and tell someone as soon you can. If you feel trapped, report to CEOP
“The police will never find me, I’ve hidden myself on the internet”
This is never true. No matter what clever tricks they claim to be using, everyone leaves a ‘digital footprint’ online. The police are very good at tracking these people down, even if they’re not in the UK.
“If you don’t do more for me I’m going to share this image”
They often don’t share the images - even when they’ve threatened to. It’s not in their best interests. The more information they share, the easier it is for the police to track them down.
“If I share this image you’ll never get over it”
You might feel you have no way out but this isn't true. All problems can be solved with support. If they do share an image, this is better than being forced to do more sexual things. Even if you think they will share the image, talking to someone will help you get perspective. You need support to make it stop.
“It’s your fault for doing it in the first place”
It’s never your fault. If you’ve sent a naked image or stripped on camera, the only person responsible is the one who encouraged you to do it. Remember, they have committed a serious crime.
“There’s no one who can help you. I’m in control”
There is lots of help and support out there. If you’re too embarrassed to tell an adult you trust like your mum or dad, you can contact CEOP. CEOP have dealt with many cases such as these and spoken to many young people in this situation.They will provide you with advice and support. They will also find the person so the police can arrest them.
How can I be safer on camera?
The safest thing to do is never show things on camera you wouldn’t want your family or friends to see. But, if you do share something you regret, it’s never too late to get help.
Don’t feel pressured to get naked on camera
If someone is pressurising you to video chat or send videos, block them and report them to CEOP
If someone threatens you online, tell an adult you trust as soon as possible.
If you can, get up from your computer immediately, walk away and tell an adult you trust, report to CEOP or call ChildLine on 0800 1111.
It’s never too late to get help.
No matter how far things have gone, there are always people out there to help. If you’re too embarrassed or scared to tell an adult you trust, you should report to CEOP or call ChildLine on 0800 1111. They will understand what you’re going through and help to make it stop.
Remember - it’s not your fault.
Whatever you’ve shared on camera, the abuser is the only person to blame. They will be held responsible. You won’t be in trouble.
They have broken the law.
Encouraging a young person to get naked or do sexual things on camera is a serious crime. You’re not alone, you will be supported.
Has this happened to you or a friend?
Unfortunately this type of abuse can happen to anyone. This has happened to hundreds of young people in the UK. You may well know someone this is happening to right now.
Remember, if this does happen to you – it’s never your fault. The only person responsible for making the image or video is the person who asked you to make it. It’s never too late to get help.
CEOP helps young people who are being sexually abused or are worried that someone they’ve met is trying to abuse them.
If you’ve met someone online, or face to face, and they are putting you under pressure to have sex or making you feel uncomfortable you should report to CEOP.
This might be someone:
- Making you have sex when you donʼt want to
- Chatting about sex online
- Asking you to meet up face to face if youʼve only met them online
- Asking you to do sexual things on webcam
- Asking for sexual pictures of you
- Making you feel worried, anxious or unsafe
If this is happening to you, or you’re worried that it might be, report to CEOP.
Want to talk to someone privately?
Childline is a free helpline for children and young people. You can contact ChildLine about anything. No problem is too big or too small. Whatever your worry, it's better out than in.
ChildLine is a private and confidential service. Confidential means not telling anyone else what you’ve said. This means that whatever you say stays between you and ChildLine.
They would only need to tell someone else if:
- You ask them to
- They believe your life or someone else’s life is in immediate danger
- You are being hurt by someone in a position of trust who has access to other children like a teacher or police officer
- You tell them that you are seriously harming another young person
Call them on 0800 1111. The number won’t appear on your phone bill.
You can also visit www.childline.org.uk to speak to a counsellor online.