S - Support when facing challenges online

Support when facing challenges online

This activity is about identifying people and places both you and your child can get support from if your child comes across things that are worrying or upsetting when using their phone. Explore different situations and what the best support could be in each one.

Knowing where there’s support

Make a list of people who could support you if something worrying happens online. Parents, this activity is for you too - have a think about who you might talk to if your child experiences something concerning online.
Use these prompts to help you think of your own 5 different places of support:

Someone close to you who always supports you and knows where you could go, like a friend or close family member.

Someone sensible who always knows what to do, like a close family member or safe adult.

Someone who understands tech and can help you with settings, like a friend or close family member.

Someone who you could go to if you were worried about telling someone you know, like a helpline.

It's important to talk to someone if something worrying or upsetting happens online. Sometimes the first person we talk to might not always be able to help, or we might feel like we’re not sure who to talk to. That’s why it’s important to have different places to go and always know about the helplines you can both contact for support. 

Sticky situations

Take it in turns to pick a situation below and a person from your support list. Talk together about the support you might need and think about: how you might you feel if you found yourself in this sticky situation? What could happen if you didn’t get support? What might stop you from wanting to get support with this?

Sticky situation 1

You’ve been watching funny videos online but when you clicked on one of the suggested videos to watch next it took you to something scary where people were getting hurt. 

Sticky situation 2

You get sent a screenshot from a friend of another chat where people are joking about you and spreading rumours. You’ve also started getting unkind messages from unknown accounts saying things like ‘no one likes you’.

Sticky situation 3

You get a new friend request from an account of a sports scout. They’re funny and friendly, and say you could be perfect for a new opportunity. They say you need to send them your details and when you’re free to meet so they can put you forward. 

For parents;

It’s important that your child knows their safety is your main priority. The NSPCC hear from children contacting Childline that they worry about disappointing their parents or that they’ll get into trouble for breaking family rules. Whilst these rules are important, it’s not the most important thing when your child has experienced harm. Your child needs to know that you will focus on supporting them first, before dealing with any fallout from rule breaking.

For families;

Not everything worrying or upsetting online can start out like that. Sometimes we can see things we weren’t expecting to, or people can ask us for things we weren’t expecting. It doesn’t matter if you clicked on something, replied to a message or sent a picture. It’s never your fault if you experience online harm or abuse and it’s really important to get support to make sure you are ok and stop it from happening again.

Places children can go for support and advice

Now you’ve completed S together, it’s time to move on to the final letter T - Talking into the future.

Frequently asked questions

Cyberbullying is bullying that takes place online. Unlike bullying offline, online bullying can follow the child wherever they go, through social networks, gaming and mobile phones. A person can be bullied online and offline at the same time.  

Check out the NSPCC’s advice on bullying and cyberbullying for more information.

Whether you’re a parent/carer, or a child, it’s important that you have places you can go to for help and support if you feel safe online. Check out the following resources:

For parent or carers:  

For children: 

The internet can be a great place for children – there are lots of learning resources, fun games and it's a great way to stay in touch with friends and family. However there can be difficult things to navigate on the internet for a child, like unwanted contact, cyberbullying or harmful content. The NPSCC toolkit of activities is a great way for both you and your child to learn how to navigate these risks. It also shows you how to get support if you or your child ever have concerns. A good starting point is to notice how your child is affected by using their phone. Try to: 

  • manage the content they see 

  • keep an eye on the interactions they have are suitable and age appropriate

  • note how long they’re online, in balance with their other activities.

Check out the NSPCC’s advice on online wellbeing for more information.