Report and seek advice on inappropriate pictures sent over the internet
In an era where so many children and young people are connected to the internet, and each other, so much of the time it shouldn’t come as a surprise that we get a lot of contacts about sending and receiving inappropriate images.
A lot of the time, a young person will get in touch worried about an inappropriate image they may have sent to a partner, friend or someone they’ve met online. It doesn’t always mean that the video or picture has been shared, but sometimes knowing the image may still be stored on someone else’s device can cause a huge amount of anxiety.
There are also lots of young people who contact us concerned about images they have received from others, which in itself can cause a lot of worry, and others who feel pressurised into sending explicit images.
One young person told us: “I’ve been talking to my crush. I had previously sent him a pic in my bra and this time he asked for another one. I sent it, and then this time he asked for a full shirtless photo.
“Now I feel really guilty because I didn’t know sexting included underwear pictures. I really don’t want anyone to find out.”
We give lots of advice to young people about knowing what they should share online, such as only sending images that you would feel comfortable being shared publically, but we also know that this advice isn’t much use when the image has already been sent.
It can be really difficult for children and young people to admit to parents, or any trusted adult, when they’ve made a mistake in sending something they shouldn’t have – but it’s important that they talk to someone about how they’re feeling.
If it’s easier, they can call or message our Childline counsellors for advice and support, and we also offer practical guidance as well.
On our website we have a guide to reporting images being shared on some social media sites, including Snapchat, Instagram and Facebook. This offers a step-by-step guide to reporting images on each of the sites, making it far easier to get control back over images posted online.
For free advice and support about any worries, children and young people can contact Childline on 0800 1111 or www.childline.org.uk