Information for Parents/Carers

‘A child I know is at risk of sexual exploitation and I want to refer them to the GLP’

If you would like to refer a child or young person to receive some support and one-to-one work around social media safety and sexual exploitation, please contact us and we will send a referral form to you to be filled in.

What are the most common signs/indicators of young people being sexually exploited?

Please note that there would have to be a grouping of at least 3+ symptoms shown below to raise concerns that a child or young person is being sexual exploited. This is not an exhaustive list of symptoms, but the most commonly found.

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Running away.

Abusive relationship.

Misusing alcohol and drugs.

Low self esteem.

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Change in appearance.

Absconding with older people.

Staying out late.

Hanging out with older peers.

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Information from their social media.

Older boyfriend/girlfriend.

Contact/hanging about with Schedule 1 offender(s).

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Often forgetting large chunks of nights out.

Rumours from other young people.

Unexplained gifts/mobiles/money.

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Sexting photographs and videos.

Relationships with abusive men.

Frequent change of partners.

Secretive behaviour.

Tips on social media safety for parents and carers.

The internet is amazing, it gives children and young people so many options to explore, to learn and to understand more about the world around them and connect with others like never before. However, with these opportunities come risk, and it is important that as technology improves, parents and carers continue to educate themselves in what their children are using.

If you have children under the age of 13 who have not yet been given their own phone/tablet OR have recently received one as a gift, this is the perfect time to implement some social media rules that will stay with them as they get older. Implementing social media rules, whilst they are young, will mean that phone checks/handing over tablets at night time will become the norm, and will hopefully help make any arguments over phone usage less likely as they get older.

If you have children over 13 who already have phones, it’s worth reading these tips and then choosing which ones you’d maybe like to implement at home.

All phones/tablets must only be used in public rooms in the house such as the living room and kitchen – this allows you to casually check what your children are using without needing to take the phone away. This may also have a positive effect on what your children choose to do with their phones.

Ask your children to hand their phones and tablets in when they go to bed. This will help reduce any likelihood of unsafe social media use such as talking to strangers online or using apps in risky ways. This rule may also have a positive impact on how quickly they go to sleep.

Get up to date with the latest apps. Right now, the two most popular apps children and young people love are Snapchat and Instagram. Why not try downloading them yourself to learn more about what your children are using? If you can't or don’t want to download these apps, then read up on them instead by asking google questions you have, or go onto the NetAware website created by the NSPCC. This website allows parents and carers to understand more about what their children are doing online and provides useful information on popular social media apps. When learning about these apps, let your children know what you are doing, or ask them to help you learn more. This way, your children are aware that you know what Snapchat and Instagram are, and are therefore more likely to come to you if they face a problem on one of these apps. For example, if a child is being harassed or bullied on Snapchat, they are unlikely to inform you, if they will have to first explain what the app is and how it works. Instead, they are far more likely to try and deal with the problem themselves, or get advice from a peer their own age, who might not give the best advice. If your child knows that you can help them block another user or report a problem they are experiencing, they are more likely to let you know about any social media related concerns they have.

If you have a younger child you can let them know about the birds and the bees when you feel they are mature enough to understand what you are talking about. When you choose to have the talk with your children, this is also a good time to have a discussion around social media safety. If you feel like your child is old enough to understand sex, consent and staying safe etc, they are also old enough to understand that not everyone is who they say they are online and that you must not trust everyone who speaks to you. Top up the social media talk in future whenever you feel like your child could need reminding about the do’s and don'ts of being online.

If you would like information on social media apps, please visit the following link

Sextortion Scam

Please be aware of this very clever online scam that leads to online blackmail. This scam most commonly effects teenage boys/young men.

A group of scammers will approach a young, attractive female and ask that she take between 100 and 300 pictures of herself in different clothes, with different hair styles, with different people at different locations throughout the course of one day. The girl will be paid for her original photos and will then be given the option to make even more money by also taking some nude photos. She is then sent on her way, no longer having a role in the scam.

The scammers then sit in internet cafes for hours developing legitimate looking online profiles of this girl (who we will call ‘Emily’) on sites like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat. It is important for the scammers to create a platform for ‘Emily’ on all these different websites so that it increases the look of legitimacy and the likelihood that anyone approached by an ‘Emily’ profile, will believe that they are really speaking to this young woman.

Once a potential scamming victim has been targeted, the ‘Emily’ profile will groom the male into believing that they share a lot in common, and that ‘Emily’ wants to start some sort of online romantic relationship. The male is sent inappropriate images of ‘Emily’ which he is likely to believe is proof that a) she is real and b) she really likes him.

‘Emily’ then starts asking the victim to send back inappropriate pictures and/or videos, suggesting that the boy must not really like her if he doesn’t send anything back. She continues to apply pressure to the boy until he eventually sends images/videos. At this point, the real person who has been speaking to the scamming victim reveals that the Emily profile is fake, and that if he does not send money to the scammer, his photos will be uploaded onto Facebook/Porn Websites/his school website.

For further information please contact us directly.

The Green Light Project is supported by Comic Relief and Alcohol & Drugs Action