Parents Hub

What To Do if Your Child Receives or Has an Intimate Image Shared Online

What is an intimate image?

Intimate images can include photos or videos of:

  • A person’s genitals, buttocks or anal region (and, in the case of women, their breasts)
  • The underwear covering these parts of the body
  • A naked person
  • A person engaged in any form of sexual activity
What should I do as a parent?

Initially, you should talk to your children regularly about sexting and the possible impact of sexting. Your child may already be aware of sexting. You need to know what they already know so that you can make a conversation. Try to explain and have them understand how it would feel to have an intimate picture of themselves shared online without their consent, in order to explain why they should not share both their own and someone else’s images. They may not want to discuss, but try to find a way to do it anyway. Ultimately, you want your child to trust you and turn to you if there is need.

If my child receives an intimate image

If your child receives a sexual image on their phone, you are recommended to follow the steps

  1. Have them delete the image. Having a sexual image of someone else on their phone/device can be accused as child pornography by the law.
  2. Make a conversation with your child about how they feel about it and what they think that the psychological and legal impact is.
  3. Once you discuss with your child, think about talking to the parents of the children that are involved. Your child should be aware and agree with any decision you make.
  4. Think of talking to school. Make sure if the school has specific guidelines to handle image sharing and how strict they are. You may not want to get involved in legal actions with the school.
  5. If your child experiences severe psychological effects, consider consulting a counsellor.
  6. Once you talk to your kid and you are totally aware of the situation, if the incident is serious, report it to the Gardai.

If my child has their picture shared online without their consent

You may feel angry or frustrated with the incident, but first of all you need to be calm in order to help your child in the best possible way. Below are some suggestions to deal with the situation.

  1. Talk to your child. Make them aware that it is not their fault that this happened. They may feel embarrassed, but reassure them that the person who shared the image is the one who should feel shame.
  2. If the image is shared on social media, have your child untag their name from the image.
  3. Ask the person who shared the image to delete it.
  4. Report it to the social media community requesting to remove it (see instructions on how to report on social media on the relevant documents).
  5. Block the person/people who have shared the image (see instructions on how to block someone on social media on the relevant documents).
  6. Tell your child it is OK if they want to stop using their social media accounts.
  7. Ask legal advice on how you can have perpetrators remove and hand all the copies in. You are protected by the law (e.g. Data Protection Law).
  8. Report the incident to the Gardai.
How to prevent your child from image sharing
  1. Discuss with your child about what sexting is and the impact of image sharing.
  2. Discuss with your child what is consent and why it is crucial.
  3. Advise your child that if they do not want an intimate image of theirs to have a negative outcome, not to take it at all and not to send it to any person who may ask or put pressure on them (e.g. boyfriend, girlfriend).
  4. Tell your child that if a stranger asks them for a sexual image, it could be to further threaten them if they share it. Tell them not to respond to that person at all and report it to the Gardai.