CHILDLINE ADVICE: Knowing what to do if you find inappropriate content online

We all know how shocking it can be, even as adults, when making an innocent search online to come across something that is inappropriate, even illegal. For our children it can be all the more upsetting.

Monday, 31st May 2021, 12:00 am

Innocent searches can sometimes lead to not so innocent results.

It is important as our children explore their online world, out of curiosity or to keep entertained and connected that if they ever do come across something that upsets or worries them they have the confidence to tell someone.

That could be a trusted adult or indeed Childline.

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Childline has a wealth of resources to support children in this situation.

But firstly, I would say that regular conversations with your children about online safety can help children understand it is not their fault and encourage them to feel confident in being open about what happens in their online world, especially if they come across inappropriate content.

If your child should say they have seen something, reassure them that they have done the right thing by coming to you and ask them to tell you how they came across it.

This will give you an opportunity to discuss what is, and isn’t appropriate for their age, and to discuss some of the apps, sites and games they can use.

It is important to report the inappropriate content, so please make sure they know how to use the report and block features on their favourite apps and games too.

And suggest they avoid sharing or commenting, even if they want to disagree.

This just fuels the haters and is always better to report and block.

Childline has a wealth of resources which could be helpful for them to check out too, our advice articles for example.

Childline’s Calm Zone has been an invaluable resource too, packed with tools to help your child de-stress or when they are feeling down.

At the beginning of the pandemic Calm Zone saw visits soar from 1,600 a week to 10,000 a week.

The moderated message boards too are a useful way for young people to offer and find support from peers.

Children can ring Childline on 0800 11 11 or visit