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Sexual pressure online

What is sexual pressure online?

Sexual pressure online is when someone keeps asking you to do sexual things that you don’t want to do. Sometimes even when you have said no.

This could be:

Pressure can be direct, like online blackmail, where someone says that bad things will happen to you if you don’t do what they say. Or it can be more subtle, like someone bombarding you with lots of compliments and flattery, promising online gifts or more followers if you do what they want.

Sexual pressure can happen on most apps or sites, but is more common on those with live streaming or photo and video chat functions. Sometimes it’s pressure from just one person, but it can also be from a group.

How do I know if I'm being pressured?

It can be difficult to spot manipulative and pressuring behaviour in others, and it might not always be obvious when someone is pressuring you online.

Here are some things to look out for:

  • They are saying nice things or offering you gifts to get you to do something. Compliments and gifts only mean something if they are genuine, not when they are used to try and make you do something you don’t want to do.
  • They’re not taking no for an answer. Real friends, whether online or offline, will respect your decision if you say no. It is wrong for someone to keep asking you to do something after you’ve said no.
  • They’re making you feel bad or threatening you if you don’t do what they say. True friends won’t ever make you feel guilty or bad for saying no. Whether it’s someone you don’t know that’s commenting on your livestream, or someone you’ve been talking to for a while, you do not owe them anything. It’s never ok for them to make you feel bad.

Dealing with pressure

If you experience any sexual pressure online, whether in private chats or when livestreaming, there are some things you can do that might help:

  • Remove yourself from the situation. This can give you time to think and respond, particularly if you are live streaming. Remember you always have a choice, and you don’t have to do anything you don’t want to, even if you have done it before.
  • Trust your gut instinct. If something doesn't feel right, it probably isn't. If we hear something over and over again, or if lots of people are asking the same thing, it can make us think that something is ok.
  • Take control of the situation. Pressuring or forcing someone under 18 to take their clothes off, or send nude images is illegal. If someone is pressuring you online, let them know that they could get into trouble.

What if I've already been pressured online?

If you’ve been tricked or pressured online into doing something you didn’t want to, remember that it’s not your fault and you are not to blame. Talking to someone you trust, like a teacher or family member, or speaking with Childline or The Mix can really help.

If anyone online, whether you know them offline or not, is putting pressure on you to take part in sexual activity, report it to CEOP.

If you’re under 18 and have shared a picture with someone who has shared it online without your consent, Report Remove from Childline and the Internet Watch Foundation, can help take it down.

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Report it

If you are under 18, report online sexual abuse to one of our Child Protection Advisors at the CEOP Safety Centre.

Report now

If you're over 18, call 101 to speak to your local police. 

In an emergency

If you're ever in immediate harm or danger: 

  • Call the police on 999 straight away
  • Tell an adult you trust who will be able to support you through a difficult time

Talk to someone

Childline logo

Free, confidential support online and over the phone for young people under 19.

Call 0800 1111

The Mix logo

The Mix is a charity that provides free information and support for under 25s.

Use their crisis messenger by texting THEMIX to 85258.

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