Additional help

How to spot potential signs of online child sexual abuse, and where to go for additional support and information.

Spotting the signs

If a child is experiencing abuse online, they may show some of the signs below. (Remember though that these may not necessarily be signs of abuse, or there may be other signs as well.)

  • Your child is spending a lot more or a lot less time than usual online, texting, gaming or using social media.
  • They seem distant, upset or angry after using the internet or texting.
  • They are secretive about who they’re talking to and what they’re doing online or on their mobile phone.
  • They have lots of new phone numbers, texts or email addresses on their mobile phone, laptop or tablet.

Source: NSPCC

Organisations that can help

To report online sexual abuse or suspected abuse:

CEOP: A law enforcement agency which can be used by anyone to make a report about online sexual abuse or communication online, affecting either themselves or others. It also offers advice and guidance to parents and carers about how to talk to your child and take action if you have concerns that online sexual abuse may be happening to them.

NSPCC support line: Parents and carers can get free advice and guidance if they are worried about a child on 0808 800 5000 or by reporting online here. The NSPCC site also provides further information about some of the common signs of different forms of online abuse.

If you think a child is in immediate danger, phone 999.

If you have more questions and need further advice:

UK Safer Internet Centre: This is where you can find online safety tips, advice and resources to help children and young people stay safe online.

Childline: A free, confidential, phone and online service for children aged 5-19. Also contains information about a range of issues, including online abuse of all kinds, and where and how to ask for help.

Childnet International: Works with children, schools and families to ensure safer internet use, and includes a parents and carers’ hub with a range of resources and information.

Internet Matters: Gives expert support and practical tips to parents and carers, including age-specific guidance about staying safe online.

NSPCC: Has online safety resources, including how to protect children from online abuse, and information about online safety and social media.

Parent Zone: Provides support and information to parents to help families navigate the internet safely and confidently.  

Marie Collins Foundation: Provides support for the child and family if a child is being/has been abused online. 

Help centres for social media platforms:

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