Live chats - How to remain in control

It can be really fun when there's lots of people watching your stream and liking your content, but it's important to always stay in control of your live posts. If your viewers start asking you to do things that seem odd, you do not have to give in to their requests, and you do not have to do anything to keep them watching your posts. 

Saying no

The people we talk to online can try to convince us to do things, even when we have said no. This might be one person you're chatting to online, or it could be lots of people. A tactic we see used in live streaming is encouraging young people to take part in dares, or offering them online gifts or ‘game points’ in exchange for doing something on video. Their requests can feel uncomfortable, such as asking you to chat one-to-one, asking for your personal information, or asking you to do sexual things such as taking your clothes off. If someone is asking you to do things online that don't feel right, stop and tell someone. 

What does pressure look like online?

It can be difficult to spot manipulative behaviour in others, and it might not always be obvious when someone is putting you under pressure online. It might be lots of compliments and flattery, promising online gifts or coins, the promise of more followers, or bombarding you with lots of comments. This can make young people feel like they need to do what they are being asked, even if they don’t want to. Alternatively it might be something more obvious, such as someone saying that bad things will happen to you if you don't do what they're asking. These are all elements of pressure and blackmail and this is wrong. 

If people online are asking you to do things that make you feel uncomfortable you can always say no, as difficult as this may feel. Even if the people seem nice and the other things they say to you make you feel good, you never have to do something you’re uncomfortable with and you always have a choice. 

If you feel pressure from people online making these type of requests, ask yourself the following questions:

-      Are they saying nice things to you or offering you gifts and coins to try and get you to do something? Nice comments and gifts only mean something when they are genuine, not when they are given to try and get you ‘on side’ and make you do something you don’t want to.

Are they not taking ‘no’ for an answer? Real friends respect our decision when we say no, and stop asking. If they keep asking they are putting pressure on you and that is wrong.

Do they make you feel bad or threaten to stop talking to you if you don’t do what they want? Even if you have been talking for a long time, you do not owe them anything and you do not need to do what they say. True friends would never make you feel bad or guilty for saying no.

What if they keep asking?

  • Remove yourself from the conversation. This can give you time to think and respond. Lots of comments all at once can feel like you have no time to think, and sometimes this can lead young people to doing things they wouldn’t normally do. Take the time to think and remember that you always have a choice. 

  • Trust your gut instinct and stick to this, even if people keep asking. If we hear something over and over we might start to think that it’s normal or ok, but it isn’t. Childline refer to a tactic called #listentoyourselfie – this means trusting your gut feeling.

  •  Take control of the situation. Encouraging anyone under 18 to get naked online is a serious crime. If people are asking you to get naked when live, or for naked photos, tell them that they will get into a lot of trouble if you sent one. Zipit has some clever memes you can use to say no, you can search for it on your App Store. 

Tips to help you stay safe

  • Live? Treat live streaming like a photo – just because it’s live that doesn’t mean it will only exist in that moment. If you’re live chatting with someone, it can feel just like a normal conversation and unfortunately it is easy to be tricked into doing something in the heat of the moment, but remember there is a camera, and anything that happens on a camera can be recorded and shared. There is more information on live streaming, and things to think about before going live here.  

  • Private chat? Be wary of people you meet whilst live streaming who ask you to chat privately. Ask yourself why they need to chat to you one-to-one. In a public chat other people can see the conversation and can check that it is safe, but with private chat it is much harder for other people to see what is going on.

  • Trustworthy advice?  If you are looking for advice on particular topics such as sex, sexuality and relationships, there is lots of great advice on the internet – but it’s important to be cautious about getting advice and support from people you’ve only met online. Use trustworthy organisations such as Brook and The Mix, who provide expert information and advice to young people. If you want to speak to someone directly, you can speak to Childline privately at any time of day on 0800 1111 or by visiting www.childline.org.uk

  • Remain in control When live streaming, there there can be lots of people watching a single stream. These ‘viewers’ can encourage young people to do things they may not be OK with offering gifts and prizes, saying lots of nice things, and by bombarding them with lots of requests and comments. Receiving lots of comments like this all at the same time can cause young people to feel under pressure. When there are lots of people asking, sometimes it can feel like the only way to get them to stop is by doing what they want. But remember, you have a choice and should not do anything because you feel you have to or because they have previously made you feel good. Always tell someone you trust who can help you, such as a parent or teacher, or you can report to CEOP. 

What if it has already happened?

It is not uncommon for young people to experiment online, and talking to other people online can be fun. But sometimes this can lead to being tricked or pressured into doing something sexual. If this has happened to you, you are not to blame.  

Doing something once does not mean you need to keep doing it. You can decide every time. If someone is making you feel guilty for saying no, or telling you that doing something once means you have to keep doing it, this is blackmail and it is never okay. If they threaten that they will do something bad unless you do what they want, the most important thing to do is tell someone. 

If someone is asking you to do sexual things online, or things that make you feel embarrassed or ashamed, tell an adult you trust. This could be a parent or a teacher. They will be able to help you.

Report it

CEOP

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:

  • Chatting about sex online
  • Asking you to do sexual things on webcam
  • Asking for sexual pictures of you
  • Making you feel worried, anxious or unsafe

www.ceop.police.uk/safety-centre

Talk to someone

ChildLine

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 us that you are seriously harming another young person.

Call them on 0800 1111.

You can also visit www.childline.org.uk to speak to a counsellor online