Ask Sam letter


To Sam


I'm not sure what to do. This boy I didn't know randomly started speaking to me and I wasn't going to be rude so I said hi. He asked me if I wanted to play a game and I said what game. He said 1 pic 4 1 pic. I said what and he said sexy pics. I said no I'm 12 and he said he's 14 and that he does it with loads of other girls, and that it is fun. I said no its against the law and then he said he was going to send one first. I said no and then I left. I screenshoted the messages and I didn't do anything else after that. This was about a week ago, shall I report him???? This was on Instagram messaging and the picture which was in the chat was he also twelve if that helps.
thanks for reading
Ask Sam


Hi there,

Thank you for writing to me about this. There may be a lot of young people out there experiencing similar things and I want to help every young person stay safe online. You’re right, sending these kinds of pictures is illegal and the boy could be in serious trouble if he is caught sending naked pictures to anyone - this is a form of online sexual abuse.

Saying no to him was a very brave thing to do, and leaving the chat would be my advice to anyone in this situation. This may be a game for them, but it is no fun for you to be put under pressure like this. Remember that once your picture is online you have no control over what happens to it.

ChildLine have an app called Zipit which might help you to know what to say in situations like this. It’s good for responding to inappropriate messages like this, without you having to think on your feet.

Talking to a trusted adult about these sorts of requests is a good idea. Remember that you have done nothing wrong and have nothing to fear from doing this. They can help you to report the abuse if you choose to by contacting Instagram. Remember though that you need to be 13 before you can sign up for most social media accounts – including Instagram.

Another good place to find advice on reporting online abuse is something called CEOP – who are the online branch of the police. They have recently updated their ThinkUKnow site and have informative videos designed to help keep you safe while you use the internet. You can report anyone trying to do sexual things with you online.
You can also talk to a ChildLine counsellor if you have any worries or concerns about anything that happens while you are online. To do this you can call, email or log on for a 1-2-1 chat.

Take care,

Need help straight away?

You can talk privately to a counsellor online or call 0800 1111 for free.

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