What to do if a child has come to you and needs help
- Communication with your child is essential. Talk to them and reassure them that they can always come to you if something upsets or worries them online.
- Save the evidence wherever possible. You may be able to report what has happened to the online service being used when the incident occurred. Evidence may include screen shots taken on a laptop or mobile device, emails, texts or online conversation histories. If you do need to make a report, evidence gathered will make it easier to show exactly what has taken place.
- Knowing who to report to is a really useful step to resolve many issues, so do familiarise yourself with the services available below. Depending on what has happened, it might be necessary to let your child's school know too.
Where to report online concerns or risks
Grooming or other illegal behaviour
If you want to report someone who is behaving suspiciously online towards a child, you should contact 999 if it is an emergency situation, or otherwise make a report to CEOP, the Child Exploitation Online Protection Centre.
Criminal content online
If you see any criminal content online, you should report this to the Internet Watch Foundation (IWF). Criminal content in the UK includes child sexual abuse images, criminally obscene adult content, as well as non-photographic child sexual abuse images.
Young people under 18 can report nude images or videos of themselves which have been shared online to Childline.
Online content which incites hatred on the grounds of race, religion, disability and sexual orientation or transgender identity, should be reported to True Vision, which tackles all forms of hate crime.True Vision will give you information on content which indicates hatred and how to report it.
Media content inappropriate for children
If you want to make a complaint about an advert, television or radio programme, film, newspaper, magazine, video game or other type of content online of offline, that you think is unsuitable for children, then OFCOM provide information on how to do this.
Many popular online services have some really useful help and advice areas, as well as ways to report and block content that is not allowed on the site (eg cyberbullying). You can also set up parental controls and restrict in-app purchases.