Sexual Exploitation - Safety Tips

As adults, we want to foster resilience in young people, starting when they’re young. This can be done by teaching them how to handle harassing messages or requests that make them feel uncomfortable – on the Internet or in the schoolyard – and, as they get older, by teaching them how to spot and respond to emotional manipulation. The good news is that most teens are effectively handling online requests from strangers – the bigger challenge is helping them handle sexual advances from people they know.

  • Talk to young people about healthy relationships and the importance of not feeling pressured into doing things they don’t want to do – such as taking explicit pictures of themselves. There are numerous other ways of showing someone how much you care, which don’t imply pressuring one’s partner to engage in risky behaviours.
  • Tell young people to talk to a trusted adult if they are being pressured or sexually harassed by anyone.
  • Remind them that if they forward or post a sexually provocative picture they can be held legally responsible for their actions.
  • Warn young people that there are people online who target adolescents to engage in sexual conversations.
  • Talk to them about why adults having sex or forming romantic relationships with underage adolescents is wrong.
  • Help them recognize grooming tactics – does an online friend seem too perfect?
  • Make it clear to them that if he or she wishes to meet a virtual friend in person, it must be in the presence of a trusted adult.
  • Younger adolescents should share their instant messaging or social networking passwords with their parents. Parent should only access their accounts in the event of a problem.