I feel unsafe online

Online safety is important and there are things you can do to protect yourself.

Computers and mobile phones help us all to share things, talk to our friends and meet new people. But they can also make it easier for people who might want to hurt you to get close to you and find out things like your name or where you live. 

When people online get hold of your information, they might use it to make you do things you don’t want to by threatening you. 

Things to remember when you're online

  • keep personal information like mobile numbers and your address to yourself
  • not all people you meet online are real or honest 
  • if you publish a picture or video, anyone can change or share it 
  • remember you can block and report people you don’t know in chat and instant messengers 
  • if something or someone makes you uncomfortable online, tell an adult you trust like a parent or teacher 

Online abuse

Online abuse includes the use of social media, email, chat or online forums and websites for: 

  • cyberbullying 
  • sexting 
  • cyberstalking 

It can also include something called revenge porn where someone posts explicit images of you online without your consent. If you are under the age of 16, these images are considered child pornography.  

Using digital technology to threaten, tease, upset or humiliate someone else is a form of bullying and can be prosecuted under the law.  

Online grooming

Grooming is when someone builds trust or an emotional relationship with you so they can manipulate, exploit and abuse you. If someone is grooming you online, they may use a photo or name of another person to hide their real identity.  

They may try to make contact with you through:  

  • email 
  • social media 
  • text, voice and video chats in forums, games and apps 

They might offer to:  

  • buy you gifts or things you want 
  • take you on trips or holidays 
  • listen and give advice or understanding to your problems 

How to get help

If you think you might be a victim of grooming or any other online harassment, speak to an adult that you trust. 

You can also report it to the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Command (CEOP) or call Childline.