Reporting online concerns

Things can go wrong online as well as offline. Your son or daughter might be upset by an abusive message on Facebook or they might want to stop subscribing to a premium rate text message service.

Maybe they have come across an inappropriate website during a Google search or they’re worried about the way another player is treating them when they’re on their games console. So it’s important to know how you can report any specific concerns you might have to your child’s mobile, social networking or games provider, search engines, websites, the police and other authorities.

As with any parental concerns, you’ll have your own way of dealing with them of course. If your son is being bullied by a fellow pupil during an online game, you might decide to speak to his school about it or if you find out that your teenage daughter and her friends have been using sexual language on a social networking site, your first step might be to discuss it with her so you can find out what’s really going on.

While it can be difficult to know what to report and what not to report – a young person might not even consider abusive online comments to be bullying (they might just see it as ‘drama’) and digital flirting might just be considered part of growing up, for example – it’s important that you report any serious concerns about things like harassment, child sexual abuse images and grooming to the relevant technology providers and other organisations (including the police, if necessary) so that they can take action.

By making a formal report, you could help to improve the experience for all users of that service and also help to protect other young people from worry and harm. For example, the Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) processes around 40,000 reports of suspected criminal content from the public each year, helping it to reduce the availability of child sexual abuse content on the internet.

Digital Parenting highlights how you can report inappropriate and potentially illegal content and behaviour to some of the digital services that young people enjoy, as well as to the police and other authorities. If you sense that your child or another child might be in immediate danger, call 999 or contact your local police.

How to … report online concerns to service providers 


Google screens websites that contain sexually-explicit content and removes explicit images from your search results (‘Moderate filtering’ is the default setting). If you would like to also filter out explicit text, you can use Google SafeSearch to set ‘Strict filtering’.

No filter is 100% accurate, however, so if you have SafeSearch activated and still find websites containing inappropriate content in your results, report it to Google and they will investigate.


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The best way to report abusive or offensive content on Facebook, such as bullying, pornography, graphic violence and discussions about self-harm or suicide, is by using the ‘Report’ link that appears near the content itself. To report a photo or video, for example, click the gear menu in the top right of your child’s profile or timeline and select ‘Report this photo’ or ‘Report this video’ (see screen shot below).

If your child uses Facebook from their mobile, they can now report it directly from there. While reporting content doesn’t guarantee that it will be removed, Facebook reviews reports to see if they violate the Facebook Terms and takes the appropriate action.

In addition, all Facebook users in the UK have access to an advice and reporting centre run by the police. Called Click CEOP, it’s an app that gives them advice about online safety as well as a dedicated facility for reporting instances of suspected grooming or inappropriate sexual behaviour (see screen shot).

Facebook also offers ‘Social Reporting’, which enables users to report problematic content to their friends and ask them for help resolving the issue. For example, if your child believes that someone has posted a photo to harass or embarrass them, they can forward it to a trusted friend who might be able to offer advice or assistance.

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To report inappropriate content or conduct related to your child’s Vodafone mobile, go to and click on ‘Contact Us’ at the bottom of the page (see screen shot below).

You can report the issue to Vodafone by your preferred method:

a) Call Customer Care directly from your Vodafone mobile on 191 (or use callback)

b) Call from a landline – 08700 700191 (Pay monthly customers) or 08700 776655 (Pay as you go customers)

c) Contact a Vodafone Advisor online from the Contact Us page (Chat)

d) Send an email using the online form on the Contact Us page (900 characters max.)


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As well as professional TV and film footage, YouTube contains thousands of videos created by people on home video cameras and mobiles (called ‘user-generated content’).

If you find a video on YouTube that you think violates the company’s guidelines (if it contains pornography or graphic violence, for example), you can flag it as inappropriate and it will be submitted to YouTube for review.

To report a video, simply click the ‘Flag’ button that is located below it on its watch page (see screen shot).

After you report the video with your selected reason, YouTube will review it and, if the video is found to be in violation of the company’s Terms of Use, it will be removed from the site. Users who continually violate YouTube’s Terms of Use will have their accounts penalised or possibly banned from the site permanently.


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If your son or daughter is worried about something that has happened while playing against other people online on Xbox LIVE (such as being harassed by another player during a game), you can report it to Xbox in a number of ways:

a) Connect directly with an Xbox support agent (chat)

b) Request a call from an Xbox support agent

c) Get help from an Xbox support agent via email

d) Tweet the Xbox Support Team @XboxSupport


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Club Penguin

Disney’s Club Penguin employs over 200 safety staff who monitor player behaviour. These moderators also approve all new penguin names, review chat logs and the list of words and phrases able to pass through the site’s chat filters. By working in conjunction with technological features the team ensures that personal information and inappropriate language is not shared in the game.

Kids are also empowered to control their experience on Club Penguin. Should they wish to, they can ignore another player by clicking on that player’s penguin, followed by the ‘ignore player’ button so they no longer see them in the game and vice versa. Kids can also report another penguin to the moderation team by clicking on the ‘M’ icon on the top right of the screen or by clicking on the player’s penguin, followed by the ‘report player’ button.

Club Penguin’s community support team can also be contacted by email, support@, and Twitter @SupportAtCP


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To make a complaint about something on the CBBC website, go to complaints/ and follow the ‘Make a complaint’ prompts.

You’ll be asked for some key information to help the BBC handle and report your complaint, including the exact address of the relevant Web page (see screen shot).

All user-generated content on CBBC is pre-moderated, but if you see something on the message boards that you believe should not be there, you can report it via the ‘Report Message’ link present on every post. The message will be hidden immediately and referred back to a moderator for action.


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Moshi Monsters

Moshi Monsters filters all postings to block inappropriate content and provides red ‘M’ buttons on pinboard messages so that users can report potentially disagreeable content, such as bullying messages (see screen shot below).

The company’s moderators will review any reports they receive and take the appropriate action.


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Stardoll staff moderate the website and have several filters in place to avoid things like name-calling and the use of bad language.

The robust team of highly trained Stardoll moderators and customer service staff can be contacted 24 hours a day, seven days a week via an easily accessible Report button (see screen shot below).

The report button is featured prominently across all social features on Stardoll. The customer service staff also moderates Chats and Parties to ensure there are no offensive words or activities being carried out.

Stardoll also has a comprehensive help section for parents and guardians wishing to learn about online safety as well as a KidSafe feature which presents parents with a child under the age of 13 full control of their account.


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You can report potential violations of the Twitter Rules and Terms of Service, such as breaches of privacy (e.g. someone posting a personal phone number), harassment, pornography, copyright infringement and child abuse images to the Twitter Trust & Safety team.

Click on ‘Help’ at the bottom of the Twitter homepage at, then go to ‘Report Abuse or Policy Violations’ and choose which policy page is the most appropriate for your issue. You’ll then be given more information and the option to submit a support ticket request (see screen shot below).

When you file a report, you’ll need to provide the Twitter Username to which your report refers (i.e. your child’s Twitter Username), a detailed description of the issue you are reporting and direct links to any Tweets you would like reviewed.



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Habbo Hotel

You or your child can report incidents, such as someone bullying them during the game, someone trying to get them to reveal their password or other confidential information or if they have witnessed sexually explicit behaviour or chat, to a Habbo Hotel moderator.

Trained safety moderators are available whenever Habbo Hotel is open and will investigate any reports made to them and take appropriate action.

To get help from a Moderator, click on ‘Help’ at the top right of your screen in Habbo (see screen shot below).

Moderators have the ability to monitor player chat and they report questionable behaviour to the police whenever necessary.

Habbo Hotel also contains the Click CEOP button, so that young people can contact the police about serious matters, such as online grooming.


For more information, go to:

How to … report online concerns to the police and other authorities 

Child Exploitation and Online Protection (CEOP) Centre

CEOP is the UK’s lead law enforcement agency for protecting children from sexual abuse.

If someone has acted inappropriately online towards your child or another young person you know, report it to CEOP. It may be sexual chat, being asked to do something that makes them feel uncomfortable (such as sharing intimate photos or webcam footage), or someone being insistent on meeting up.

Go to, click the ‘Click CEOP’ button in the right hand corner (see screen shot), then click the red ‘Make a CEOP report’ button on the next page and follow the steps outlined.

If you need immediate help or have a real emergency, call 999 or contact your local police.

The Click CEOP button is also available on various websites including Facebook and Habbo Hotel.


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If anyone in your family comes across child sexual abuse content (often referred to as child pornography) or criminally obscene adult content on the internet, report it to the UK Hotline run by the Internet Watch Foundation. Reports are confidential and can be made anonymously.

Go to the IWF website at, click ‘Report criminal content here’ (see screen shot), and follow the steps outlined.

Your report to the Hotline may help to trace and rescue a young victim from further abuse.


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A new website called ParentPort, which is run by the UK’s media regulators, such as the Advertising Standards Authority and Ofcom, sets and enforces standards across the media to protect children from inappropriate material.

Have you seen or heard something unsuitable for children on TV, online, in a film, an advert, a video game or a magazine?

Go to the ParentPort website and click on ‘Make a complaint’. You’ll be taken through to the ‘Make a complaint’ page where you’ll be asked what your concern is (see screen shot).

Once you have answered a few simple questions, ParentPort will take you straight to the right part of the website for the regulator that will handle your complaint. For example, if you wish to complain about a game on a mobile phone, you’ll be directed to the Video Standards Council website.

The Parent Zone

The Parent Zone runs a help service to assist with parenting dilemmas and queries, including those about technology. If you are not sure what to do or where to go for information or support, contact them.


You can email them at: