Case Study: Online Abuse
I called the NSPCC helpline after I was saw something online that really upset and worried me. I’ve lived with my mum since my parents divorced earlier this year and I spend a lot of time in my room on my computer, chatting with friends and playing video games.
I was chatting to my friend Amy online when someone called David, who neither of us knew, requested to join the conversation. We decided it might be fun to chat to someone new so we accepted him. We were talking about our favourite bands when David sent us some pictures.
I thought they were going to be of the bands we were talking about but when I opened them they were photos of naked children with adults doing things to them. David then asked me what I looked like and what I was wearing, and if I would email him a photo. I got really upset and immediately came off the chat.
I didn't know if I would get in trouble for what I’d seen and I was worried about the children in the photos. I didn't want to talk to my mum about it because I didn't want her to worry but I didn't know what to do about what I’d seen. I searched “child abuse” on the internet and saw the NSPCC’s helpline number, so I called it.
I spoke to Kirsty who was really friendly and I told her what had happened. She told me I had done the right thing to contact the helpline and we talked about how I could keep myself safer online in future. I knew that I shouldn’t speak to people I didn’t know online, and Kirsty explained how dangerous it was.
I gave Kirsty details about David, like his email address and online chat profile. Kirsty asked for Amy’s details too so that someone could make sure she was ok. Kirsty said it was important that both Amy and I were protected from David so he couldn’t approach us again. She said she was also going to forward David’s details to The Child Exploitation and On-Line Protection Service for them to investigate.
Kirsty also gave me contact details for ChildLine and said that if I was feeling worried about what I’d seen, or just wanted to talk to someone I could call or email them. She helped me think about talking to my mum too.
After the call I felt a lot better about what had happened, and was even able to talk to mum about it. I’m a lot safer online now.