Staying safe online

Young people should be able to be creative, personal and expressive, without threats from bullies or online groomers. We fight for this right by spreading the word of online safety and working with children at risk of online exploitation.

What are the dangers of being online?

Most young people have online lives, just as real as their offline lives. They chat on WhatsApp, share pics on Shapchat, post on Instagram. A post can go viral and reach millions of people worldwide overnight. The appeal of the online world is also what makes it dangerous. Any post, no matter what it is, is open to bullying, abuse and threats. 

What is online exploitation?

Online exploitation is when someone online uses their power to make a child do sexual or criminal things, either online or offline.

What is online grooming?

Online grooming is when someone tricks and makes friends with a child online, often to exploit them, sexually or criminally.

 

keeping children safe online

boy in dark on laptop

Tackling online exploitation

We want to increase everyone's understanding of online dangers, so exploitation doesn't happen. We also work directly with young people who have been groomed online, so they can work through their trauma, start trusting people again, and live their best life. 

I have the confidence to make changes

Rebuilding trust

If you've been lied to by someone you cared about, it's tough. It takes a lot of guts to open up and trust again. For a young person who has been tricked and then emotionally and physically abused, it's even harder. We're there when they're ready to open up. We listen, try to understand and share techniques to improve their self-esteem and confidence.

No more hiding things from parents, bailing on friends, skipping school, worrying about what their abuser will do. They take charge of their future.  

promoting online safety

Promoting online safety

If young people know what to look out for, they can avoid things that don't seem right. So, we spread awareness of online safety. We teach the difference between healthy and unhealthy relationships. We give young people the tools to spot warning signs and get out of potentially harmful situations. 

If we spot exploitation early and respond properly, less children will reach the point where they feel trapped by their abuser. Our Prevention Team visit communities up and down the country. We train parents, police, teachers and other professionals on how to spot the signs of exploitation and how to report it.

During the busiest Christmas shopping weekend last year, we partnered with Currys PC World. We talked to parents buying computer games and smartphones and handed out information on internet safety. 

woman teaching school girl about online safety

online safety facts and figures

13,363

professionals were reached through our Prevention Programme

93%

felt better able to spot child exploitation

girl outside in sunshine

If I want to talk, I can

When Kirsty was a teenager, older men started messaging her on social media, asking to meet up. Luckily our project workers stepped in before things got out of Kirsty's control. 

How do I know if my child is staying safe online?

Young people have a lot going on in their lives. Changes of behaviour could be any number of things. However, there are certain changes that could be signs of online grooming and exploitation: 

  • Talking about older or new friends they've met online 
  • Talking about gifts or money they have received online 
  • Becoming withdrawn and secretive 
  • Having a new phone or more than one phone 
  • Receiving a large number of calls or messages 
  • Worried about being away from their phone 

Look out for things that don't seem right - if they don't feel right, they're probably not. 

Are you worried about a child's online safety?

If you're worried, the best thing you can do is learn about online safety and be open to talk about it. Show the young person they can trust you and don’t judge. Take an interest in their online friends as much as you would their offline friends. 

Reporting online abuse and exploitation 

If you are concerned about something you've seen online, tell Child Exploitation Online Protection (CEOP) or call the police on 101.