Where to get advice, support and help
These services and organisations offer free expert support and advice. If you have a question, you can contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Sexual abuse in schools
NSPCC: A new dedicated helpline provides appropriate support and advice to both children and adults who are victims of sexual abuse in schools. This includes how to contact the police and report crimes if they wish. The helpline will also provide support to parents and professionals too. Call 0800 136 663. Anyone with concerns about child sexual abuse can also find help at the government's Stop Abuse Together site.
Parent Zone services
Parent Zone Crisis Messenger: If you or a member of your family is experiencing a mental health crisis and need immediate help, the Parent Zone Crisis Messenger – powered by our trusted partners Shout and Crisis Text Line – is available 24/7 and will connect you to a trained volunteer. Text PARENTZONE to 85258 to get help.
Parent Info: If you’re looking for support or advice on any issue caused or amplified by the internet, Parent Zone and NCA-CEOP’s parent information service Parent Info is packed with helpful articles about the challenges and opportunities children face online.
VoiceBox: A new international content platform from Parent Zone's sister organisation Youth Zone, VoiceBox encourages young writers, vloggers, podcasters, artists or memesters to share their ideas and experiences. This is particularly important during lockdown, when young people may want a safe space to talk about the new challenges they face.
Online safety and digital wellbeing
Thinkuknow: NCA-CEOP’s online service Thinkuknow has information and advice for children, parents and carers related to online safety and sexual exploitation. The site is structured so that children can access age-appropriate information, find out how to respond to the issue they’re experiencing and, if necessary, contact NCA-CEOP. It also has worksheets parents can use with their children at home.
Childline: Anyone who’s 19 years or younger can get in touch with Childline to talk about any problem they’re facing – online or otherwise. Normally, the service is 24/7 but due to the COVID-19 outbreak, counsellors are available from 7.30am to 3.30am on weekdays and 9am to 3.30am on weekends, either on the phone (0800 1111) or via 1-2-1 online chat.
Digital parenting advice straight to your inbox
If you or any member of your family is having a hard time coping, there are lots of charities and organisations out there which offer free advice and counselling.
Mind: The charity Mind offers free support for anyone suffering from mental health-related issues. If you need advice or signposting to an appropriate support service you can get in touch with Mind by phone (0300 123 3393), email (email@example.com) or 1-2-1 chat.
YoungMinds: YoungMinds is the UK’s leading mental health charity for children and young people. Through its website, young people and their parents can access a wealth of resources to help them respond to mental health challenges and get help. If you’re concerned about your child’s mental wellbeing, they also have a parent hotline you can call on 0808 802 5544, where you'll get advice on how to tackle the issue.
The Mix: Young people between the ages of 13 and 25 can get free mental health support by calling The Mix’s hotline on 0808 808 4994 or sending an email. They also have a crisis messenger and 1-2-1 webchat. No topic is off the table and whatever issue your child is facing, The Mix will connect them to an expert who can give advice and signpost to other helpful tools and services.
Beat: The UK’s go-to charity for expert information and advice on eating disorders has online resources for people who have an eating disorder and those who are worried about someone close to them. You can also get direct support with live chat, or by calling one of their helplines every day between 9am and 8pm during the week, and 4pm to 8pm on weekends. They also offer an online safe space called The Sanctuary, where people with eating disorders can share concerns and advice on how they are coping with the pandemic.
Child sexual exploitation and abuse
While most children only have positive experiences online, occasionally things can go wrong.
Research from NCA-CEOP has suggested that children and young people are more at risk of being groomed or otherwise sexually exploited now that most of them are home from school.
Here are the services you need to report to if you have any concerns related to child sexual exploitation and abuse:
Stop Abuse Together: The Home Office's site offers advice, support and ways to report if you are concerned about child sexual abuse. You can find out more at the Stop Abuse Together website.
NCA-CEOP: If your child has been exploited sexually online, or if you suspect that they have been a victim of grooming, you can make a report to the Child Exploitation and Online Protection command of the National Crime Agency (NCA-CEOP). You or your child can do this by filling in a short and simple form on the CEOP website.
IWF: The Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) is an independent organisation which works to remove illegal content such as child abuse images and videos from the web. If you or your child stumble across anything related to child sexual exploitation and abuse online, you can make a confidential and anonymous report to the IWF via its website.
Pace: If you have questions about child sexual exploitation and abuse, or are in doubt about whether to make a report, the organisation Pace has lots of resources for parents and professionals who want to find out more.
Addiction and substance abuse
National Gambling Helpline: If you or anyone in your family struggles to stay on top of a gambling habit, the National Gambling Helpline is available 24/7 for anyone who needs support. The service is completely confidential and you can get in touch on 0808 8020 133 or via live chat to speak to a trained professional who can offer advice on how to tackle the problem.
Frank: If you need to talk to someone about any kind of substance abuse – drugs, alcohol etc – the organisation Frank’s helpline is open 24/7 for those who suffer from an addiction and for people who are concerned about someone close to them. You can call 0300 123 6600, text 82111 or live chat every day between 2pm and 6pm to get confidential support. On its website, you can also find advice for parents and carers who are worried their child might be struggling with substance abuse.
Ditch the Label: Ditch the Label offers support to young people between the ages of 12 to 25 who have experienced bullying. You’ll find many helpful articles on its website about how to combat bullying, plus advice on how to get help. And if your child can’t find information related to their specific problem, they can get in touch with the organisation’s Digital Mentors.
Department for Education: The DfE has an extensive list of resources which they say can be used by parents to “support their children’s education”, alongside whatever their school sends to them. It’s all free and covers English, maths, science, PE, wellbeing and Special educational needs and disabilities (SEND).
PSHE Association: Although the majority of the PSHE’s information is aimed at professionals, it does have a very useful guide to educating your child at home, which you can download for tips if you plan to cover the subject with your children.