Keeping Young People Safe Online


In today’s digital age, easy access to sexually explicit content online through social media, peer to peer sharing or clickbait advertising poses challenges and it’s important for adults to understand the risks and to know how to talk to young people about. Children can sometimes see porn or sexually explicit content accidentally and this might feel scary or upsetting. Others may be curious about sex and relationships and may have searched online for information. Having early, often and open conversations with a child is important.

Click or Tap this box to learn more about where you can find support

If you need guidance and support on issues affecting children you can contact the NSPCC helpline on 0808 800 500 or email [email protected]

Other contacts:

  • Thinkuknow: For advice, guidance and resources please visit the Thinkuknow website.
  • Internet Matters: For resources and advice on the impacts of exposure to pornography online please visit the Internet Matters website.

Things to consider

Acknowledge normal curiosity: It is normal for young people to have questions about sex and sexuality as they move through their teenage years. Avoid responding with shock or fear and instead encourage an open and non-judgmental environment where they feel comfortable discussing their questions and concerns. If you have concerns about unhealthy sexual development or porn habits, speaking to a medical professional is recommended.

Have a conversation: Have open and honest conversations with a child about their online activity, healthy relationships, boundaries and consent. Provide age-appropriate information about sex education to help them navigate discussions and make informed choices.

Parental controls and filters: Utilise parental control tools and content filters to restrict access to inappropriate websites and explicit content. Explore age-appropriate search engines and safe browsing options that offer a safer online experience.

Peer pressure and online sharing: Discuss the potential dangers of sharing sexually explicit images influenced by peer pressure. Teach young people about the legal and emotional consequences and the importance of respecting healthy ad personal boundaries.

The impact of pornography on young people: Help young people to recognise that pornography does not accurately represent real sexual relationships and can distort their views and expectations regarding body image, sexual activity, consent, and respect for others. It can contribute to desensitization, feelings of inadequacy, low self-esteem, and negative attitudes about sex and relationships. Pornography consumption can also have negative impacts on the brain’s reward centres.

Pornography in grooming: Abusers may use pornography in the grooming process to manipulate and coerce victims. Help young people to understand that if they are being asked or forced to watch anything that makes them feel uncomfortable, then it is never their fault and they should talk to a trusted adult about it straight away.

Reporting – Online Child Abuse or Extreme Pornographic Images: If anyone comes across illegal content, they can report it anonymously online to have it removed. Reporting plays a vital role in combating child sexual abuse and protecting young people online.

Welcome to the Online Safety Hub

How old are you?

If you are under 18, click the blue button below to visit the Online Safety Hub micro-site for children and young people.