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How can I get help to change my online sexual behaviour?

How can I get help to change my online sexual behaviour?

If you’re worried about how you’re behaving online, you need to seek help. This is true even if you’re worried you might get into trouble. 

Talking about your worries is the first step to getting the help you need. It takes courage to say you’ve done something harmful. 

There are several safe online organisations that can help you. Which one you need depends on what’s worrying you. 

Here are the details of some of them:

We can provide advice and support to children, young people and their families who are worried about their online sexual behaviour. 

You can contact us yourself on our Shore email service – you don’t have to tell us who you are. Or an adult you trust can get in touch with our Stop It Now! helpline. Both of these services are anonymous, which means you don’t have to give your name, and they provide you with ongoing support and advice. 

We may also be able to give you information about other support. This support could include a call with a professional, or the tailored education programme we run for young people. 

Child Exploitation and Online Protection

CEOP is a law enforcement agency (part of the police) that is here to keep children and young people safe from sexual exploitation and abuse. If you are worried about online sexual abuse you can make a report to CEOP online. 

A free, confidential support helpline for anyone under 19 to discuss any issues they are going through.

The Internet Watch Foundation is a charity that works to protect children from online sexual abuse. You can report online child sexual abuse anonymously via their website.

More resources

Kooth

Your online mental wellbeing community

Youth Access

The advice and counselling network

The Mix

Free, confidential support for young people under 25 via online, social and mobile

If you’re visiting a website to get support, make sure it’s trustworthy and safe. You might find it helpful to look at our page on safe places to learn about sex.

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Safe spaces to learn about sex

Find safe spaces where you can learn more about sex, love and relationships.

Read more

Making changes

Sometimes it can be really hard to make changes, even when we’ve decided we want to. 

But there are actions you can take that will help you stick to your decision to avoid risky online sexual behaviour. 

What works for you will depend on things like:

  • the behaviour you’re worried about
  • your reasons for wanting to change
  • your relationship with adults you trust

It can be helpful to try a few different methods to make sure you’re behaving in the safest way possible. 

Here are some methods you might like to try: 

  • Change the settings on your social media accounts so they’re as private as possible. Here are some tips on looking after your privacy.
  • Look for any signs that someone you’re talking to online isn’t who they say they are.
  • Be careful not to share too much information with someone you’ve never met in person. This could include your home address or the school you go to.
  • Think about what apps and websites you use. Delete any apps and block any websites you think may not be safe or appropriate. This could include ones where:
    • you’ve seen illegal images
    • you’ve had chats that are harmful, like when you’ve shared nudes of yourself with adults, or you’ve had a lot of sexual chat with people you don’t know.
  • Work out what times you’re more likely to do something harmful online. Then think of something else you could do at these times. Or think of somewhere you could leave your devices so you can’t get online at these times.
  • Write a list of reasons why you want to stop this online behaviour. Keep it somewhere you can look at it when you’re feeling tempted. This could be on your phone background, or on a Post-it note next to the computer.

It can be really helpful to write down a plan. You can then share the plan with the people around you. 

We’ve created a Digital Safety Plan to help you think about the different steps you can take to keep yourself and other people safe. 

And feel free to get in touch with our email service, if you’d like some help putting your plan together

If anything on this page has upset you, or if something has happened that has upset or hurt you, then do speak with someone you trust so you can get help and support. 

If you’ve already done something online that you regret, you might be feeling some big and painful emotions, and a lot of fear. 

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Harmful sexual behaviour

Find out about what harmful sexual behaviour is and what you can do if this is something you are worried about.

Read more

If that’s true, maybe take a look at our pages on dealing with regrets about harmful sexual behaviour and managing difficult emotions.

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Managing difficult emotions

If you’re worried about harmful sexual behaviour, whether it’s your own or someone else’s, you may be experiencing some confusing emotions. Find out how to manage difficult emotions and get support for your mental health.

Read more

And for a full list of the services you can contact for support or information, please visit our list of other helpful organisations section.

Are you struggling?

Our advisors can give you support and advice, and you don’t have to say who you are.

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