Online Safety

While the internet is a great way for people to stay in touch with friends and family, it can also bring risks. Now more than ever it’s important to talk to your child about staying safe online and about the apps and sites they’re using.

It can be difficult to know how to start talking to your child about what they’re doing online or who they might be speaking to. But talking regularly, like you would about their day at school, will help your child feel relaxed and mean that when they do have any worries, they’re more likely to come and speak to you.

Sexting And Sending Nudes

Sexting or sending nudes is the sharing of a sexual message, text message, naked or semi-naked image, or video with another person. It doesn’t have to be a nude image of them and could be an image of someone else. Young people can send nudes using phones, tablets and laptops and can share them across any app, site or game. Many young people also share them on social media channels.

Some of the risks of sexting or sending nudes are:

  • blackmail, bullying and harm. People can have their photos, messages or videos shared without their consent or be bullied about them. This can lead to them feeling difficult emotions like distress or embarrassment and shame.
  • losing control of the images, videos or messages and how they're shared. Once something's shared online it's public and can be saved or copied by others.

Inappropriate Or Explicit Content

As children explore the internet, they may come across content that isn't suitable for their age, or that may upset or worry them. Inappropriate content can include:

  • cruelty to humans and animals
  • pro-anorexia and eating disorder content
  • terror attacks, beheadings and bombings
  • self-harm sites
  • pro-suicide content
  • violence and distressing content
  • sexual abuse and rape

Sometimes, innocent searches can lead to not so innocent results. And sometimes, children may look for things because they're curious. It’s important to know how to reassure young people and help them know what to do and where to go for support if they see inappropriate content online.

Online Porn

It can be hard to know how to talk to your child about the risks of watching online porn. It’s normal for young people to be curious about sex and relationships and sometimes they may search online for information or answers to questions they have. They may also do this if they’re worried or embarrassed about asking their parents or guardians.

Some of the reasons children and young people watch or search for porn online include:

  • for sexual arousal and pleasure
  • to learn about sex and sexual identity
  • curiosity
  • to break the rules
  • to shock their friends
  • peer pressure