Worried your friend shares pictures they shouldn't?

Would you know what to do if an ‘indecent’ picture of your friend went viral? It happens.

They send a sexy pic to their boyfriend or girlfriend. It gets shared. Now the whole school is talking about it.

If your friend’s in the picture they’re going to need your support.

The law.

Remember – if a picture or video is of a boy or girl under 18 and it’s ‘indecent’ – (if it’s naked, a topless girl, contains genitals or sex acts it will be!) – it’s illegal to share, keep on your computer or on your phone.

That doesn’t mean your friend will be in trouble. The police understand that young people share these images with their boyfriends or girlfriends, even though it’s a bad idea.

What it does mean is that if other people are sharing a picture without your friend’s permission, they are breaking the law and could be in serious trouble.

Too late?

The best way to protect your friend is to persuade them not to share sexual pictures in the first place, even with people they trust. It might seem fun but it’s never a good idea.

What if the pictures are already out there? Well, it’s never too late to help a friend.

4 ways to help your friend

  1. Take it down!

    If the picture or video has been shared online the first thing to do is to try to remove it from any websites. If your friend has posted it make sure they’ve deleted it from any social networks they’ve shared it on. If other people have shared it you can report to most popular websites to ask them to remove it. Learn how to report to other social media sites

  2. Take it down pt 2!

    If the picture or video is on a website which doesn’t let you make a report, ChildLine can help. They work with the Internet Watch Foundation to get ‘indecent’ images of under 18s removed from the internet. Call ChildLineon 0800 1111 and tell them what has happened.

  3. Help them find support.

    Your friend may be upset and distressed by what has happened. They could be worried about their family seeing the pictures or being bullied. Let them know that you are there to support and listen to them. Encourage them to talk to an adult they trust or speak to ChildLine if they need further support.

  4. Report abuse to CEOP.

    If your friend is being threatened or someone is asking them for more pictures you should help them report to CEOP. Whatever may have happened CEOP will understand. Your friend won’t be in trouble.

Organisations who can help

Talk to someone


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
  • We 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. The number won’t appear on your phone bill.

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

Report it


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, you can report this to CEOP.