Introduction

Unless you are under 25 years of age, it will be impossible for you to realise what it must be like to grow up in the age of social media and the internet.  From talking to young people, the relentless pressure this technology inflicts is all-encompassing and is something that adults, internet providers and legislators are struggling to comprehend.

Sexting, online bullying, trolling and the rapid proliferation of online pornography (which is becoming increasingly extreme) are standard for most young people. As is the insidious grooming of young people through social media and gaming.

The impact of this new world is yet to be fully analysed.  Are increased instances of suicide, eating disorders and self-harm linked to online abuse?  In the next few months, the police crime figures will include online crimes for the first time and there is little doubt that the figures will be shocking.

What practical steps can parents and young people take to protect themselves from this abuse? How do they stop the signs and respond when they think the abuse is occurring?