FAQs

Have a question? We hope we have an answer that helps!

  • How do I know when things have gone too far?

    If a sexting incident involves threats, intimidation, blackmail, etc., it’s time to get help. You should immediately do at least one of the following:

    • Send in a report to Cybertip.ca, Canada’s tipline for reporting concerns about child sexual exploitation on the Internet. Information that is reported through Cybertip.ca may be shared with the police and/or child welfare.
    • Tell your parents/guardians about what is happening so that they can immediately help you with the situation. It’s difficult to be in this type of situation and you shouldn’t have to deal with it on your own.
    • Tell another safe adult (e.g. teacher, counsellor, relative) about what is going on so they can help you address the situation.
  • How do I stand up for someone who is being mistreated or bullied?

    • Online

      • Do not ‘like’ or ‘RT’ or forward harmful messages, tweets or posts.
      • Challenge hurtful messages, tweets or posts with a message such as “That’s not cool” or “I think s/he is awesome”.
      • Send a message to the person who is being mistreated to see if s/he is okay and to let her/him know that the way s/he is being treated is wrong.
      • Save a copy of the harmful messages and share them with an adult who can help.
    • Offline

      • Refuse to participate and remove yourself from the situation.
      • Go to the person who is being mistreated and tell her/him that you don’t agree with what is happening to her/him – show the person your support.
      • Go to an adult to let them know what is going on – an anonymous note will do if you are worried about someone.
  • I am so stressed out. How can I cope?

    Stress is your body’s way of saying that you are struggling to deal with daily life demands or you have a problem that you need to deal with. People typically react to stress in a way that might mimic times when they are in physical danger – you get a burst of energy, the heart beats faster and blood pressure rises.

    While some stress isn’t bad, too much stress can cause physical issues like headaches, stomach problems and sleep problems. It can also cause you to feel tired, irritable and depressed. You may also experience difficulty thinking and concentrating. While you can’t always control the things that cause stress, some healthy ways of dealing with it include:

    • Thinking about the future — don’t dwell on the past, be forward-thinking.
    • Reaching out and confiding in someone you trust.
    • Remembering who you are and not allowing others to impact how you feel about yourself.
    • Trying stress relieving activities such as physical activity, reading, listening to music, hanging out with a friend or just lazing about.

    If you are really feeling like things are out of control, and you can't seem to change your situation for the better, it is a good idea to talk to a safe adult who can help you. If you aren’t able to identify a safe adult to talk to, contact Kids Help Phone (1-800-668-6868) to speak with a counsellor.

  • What do I do if I feel like my life is over?

    While it may not feel like it, you will get through this and things will get better! This situation does not define who you are. If you are feeling depressed and/or have had any thoughts of hurting yourself, it’s critical that you either:

    • reach out to a safe adult;
    • contact Kids Help Phone (1-800-668-6868 or www.kidshelpphone.ca); or
    • find a counsellor in your area (e.g. school guidance counsellor, drop-in community counselling).
  • How do I get out of uncomfortable situations?

    • Be direct – say it like it is

      Sometimes just saying “no” without arguing or explaining your reasons is the best response. For example, “I don’t want to”, “I’m not okay with this”, or “Stop.” do not require an explanation.

    • Be honest

      Being honest with yourself about what you want and don’t want is important – for example, “I would rather take it slow” or “I am not comfortable with that.”

    • Use humour

      Sometimes humour can turn the attention away from you and onto something else.

    • Make up an excuse

      Tell the person that you have something else you have to do. For example, “I can’t stay – I have to go now.”

    • Blame your parents

      For example, “My parents are really strict – I have to be home right away.”

    • Repeat yourself if necessary

      If the person is not listening, repeat your answer again. You can take control back by being firm with your response. Don’t change your mind because someone is being persistent.

    • Leave

      Slip out of the situation with no explanation. Whether online or offline, you don’t owe anyone an explanation.

  • People won’t stop bugging me about having shared a sexual picture/video of myself. What should I do?

    While some peers may not have your best interests at heart, friends are a good source of support when things are tough. Reach out to your close friends for support during this time and don’t respond to unsupportive remarks by peers. While it’s difficult now, know that this will pass, keep your head up and remember that you don't deserve to be treated disrespectfully.

    In some situations, especially when things feel out of control, you may need to get help from family, friends or a safe adult.

  • My parents have their own stress and I don’t want to make it worse by telling them about this. What should I do?

    • It’s your parent’s job to help keep you safe – so while they may be upset, they should also be concerned about what has happened and help you figure out how to deal with it.
    • Before going to your parent, it may be helpful to practice what you are going to say. Discussing it with a friend or another safe adult can help you figure out how to approach and respond to your parent and the reaction you receive.
  • Is it a big deal to send and/or share sexual pictures/videos?

    Consider some of these risks before you send a sexual picture/video to another person:

    • You lose control of what happens to the picture or video.
    • Your image/video can be easily shared with others through messaging or posted on different sites.
    • You may be ridiculed and/or harassed by peers.
    • You may feel humiliated, anxious, and/or depressed because peers are mistreating you.
  • Is it safe to go on webcam?

    It depends. If you go on webcam and do things that you would be comfortable with other people seeing, then you are fine. If you end up doing something sexual over webcam, then the risks change and here’s what you need to know:

    • It is easy for someone to record what you are doing over live cam – don’t be fooled by thinking it is live and therefore “no big deal”.
    • It is not difficult to live stream pre-recorded content. You may think you are talking to a person in real-time but they are streaming video that was recorded previously which can be a recording of someone else.
    • Unless you know the person offline, you have no way of verifying who is on the other end of the webcam.
    • Trust your instincts, be skeptical and cautious. If the person you are communicating with on live cam is not visible (e.g. “I am having problems with my webcam today - that is why you aren’t seeing me.”), that person may be trying to hide her/his identity
  • Should I stay with my boyfriend after he has shared a sexual picture of me?

    There are questions you need to ask yourself if you and your boyfriend are considering staying together:

    • Why did he share my picture/video with other people?
    • Has he taken responsibility for what he did and does he understand how it affected me?
    • What steps has he taken to make things better?

    Also consider:

    • Does your boyfriend treat you with dignity and respect?
    • Are you honest with one another and do you trust each other?
    • Does he treat you with kindness and listen to you?
    • Does your boyfriend accept you for who you are and stand up for you to others?
    • When you disagree, are you still respectful with each other?
    • When one of you is upset, does the other person show concern and act supportively?
  • How can I help a friend who is going through this?

    If you are concerned about your friend, there are some important things you can do to help:

    • Spend extra time with your friend, listen to her/him
    • Let your friend know that you are there for her/him and that s/he is not alone.
    • Reinforce that things will get better.
    • Stick up for your friend to peers.
    • Suggest that your friend speak to a safe adult. If s/he is unable to do this, offer to help her/him tell a supportive adult.
    • Reach out to an adult for immediate help if the situation involves things like threats, intimidation or blackmail, or if you’re worried that your friend may hurt her/himself.
  • Should I tell an adult if a friend’s sexual picture/video is online or is being shared?

    Some situations may be more than you can deal with and involving a safe adult may be a good idea. This is especially true if you are concerned about your friend’s health, how s/he is dealing with what’s happening and/or if the incident has involved any threats, intimidation, blackmailing etc.

    If you think involving a safe adult is important, talk to your friend about it and encourage them to be part of the process. Let your friend know why you think involving a safe adult is important; talk about the different ways s/he could reach out to an adult, and how you can be involved in helping.

    If your friend is opposed to telling a safe adult, you may still need to go ahead and tell an adult. This is especially true if you are worried about your friend’s personal safety.

  • How do I know if I am in a healthy dating relationship?

    • Healthy relationships involve respect, dignity, honesty, trust, kindness, listening, acceptance, and loyalty.
    • In a healthy relationship, your feelings are respected and you are never pressured into doing things you are not comfortable with.
  • Is it a bad sign if my boyfriend/girlfriend always wants to know what I am doing?

    It can be difficult to know when you are in a controlling relationship – especially if you feel close to that person or are in love. Remember that controlling behaviour is not about love, it is about power and manipulation. Here are a few examples of behaviours to watch out for:

    • Constantly texting or sending instant messages wanting to know where you are
    • Pressuring you to get serious very quickly
    • Pressuring you to do what s/he wants all the time
    • Acting very jealous or bossy
    • Pressuring you to do things that you are not comfortable with (e.g. engaging in sexual acts, sending sexual pictures)
    • Threatening to hurt you or her/himself if you break up with her/him
    • Mistreating you and then blaming you for the problems in the relationship
    • Isolating you – not wanting you to be close to anyone else (e.g. friends, family)