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Think before you send

If you share an image of yourself online by photo, text or video, via your phone, tablet or computer always think first, “would I be ok with anyone and everyone seeing this?”

Any image of yourself that you send, can and might be shared by the person you sent it to. Once you press send, it is no longer in your control.

If you share a ‘ nude’ or ‘ underwear shot’ even with someone you trust, you are not able to control who they forward it to or where they save it. It can be sent on to anyone or posted anywhere on the internet. It could end up on social networking sites or even porn sites.

You should never feel pressured to send an image of yourself to anyone. Think about why someone would want you to do this. Once they have your image, they have it forever and could even use it against you.

Did you know?

Being involved in sending explicit pictures, where the person in the picture is under the age of 18, can be a criminal offence. This could lead to you getting into trouble with the police, affect your chances of getting a job and even limit the countries that you can travel to.

If someone is forcing you to send an inappropriate image of yourself you should report them to the Police by calling 101.

Download ChildLine's free Zipit app for loads of great comebacks if someone's trying to get you to send them a sexual image.

Before you share a photo of yourself always: "Think before you send" Don’t send anything you wouldn’t want your parents, teachers, friends or future employers to see.

Who are you really talking to?

Being online makes it easy for people to lie and pretend to be someone else. Some people use social media to make contact with children and young people with the intention of “grooming” them. To groom someone is to prepare someone to do something sexual for the benefit of the person making contact.

Groomers might try to gain your trust by using a fake profile picture and by pretending to have similar interests as you. They might pretend to be your age and have similar interests to you.

People who try to groom children and young people want you to believe their lies so that they can get information about you:

  • your age
  • where you live
  • who else might use the computer that you use or
  • who else has access to your mobile phone

Once they have lots of information about you and have got your trust and friendship, they often move conversations towards sexual experiences and interests, even asking you to send sexual photographs or videos of yourself.

Some might move towards wanting to meet up, others might try to blackmail you by threatening to share any images/pictures or videos you might have sent them already with your friends and family, if you don’ t carry on doing what they ask you to do.

Online grooming may involve you:

  • Being asked to chat about sex online
  • Being asked to do sexual things on webcam
  • Being asked to share naked or sexual pictures of yourself
  • Being asked to look at, or watch pictures or videos of others doing sexual things
  • Being exposed to online pornography
  • Or being asked to watch the person you are speaking with do sexual things, such as exposing themselves
  • Being asked to meet up face to face with the person you have been speaking to online.

Online grooming can happen to both boys and girls, of any age, whether you are gay or straight. No matter where you’ re from or what your cultural background is.

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