Having a conversation about online sexual abuse will never be easy, but the NSPCC’s PANTS rule is a great way to start. These tips can help you get to grips with the approach
What is PANTS?
Talking PANTS is a simple way to help keep children safe from online abuse. The PANTS acronym (explained below) teaches children that they have a right to say no, and that they should tell an adult if something upsets or concerns them. If your child says something that worries you, talk to a teacher or contact the NSPCC on 0808 800 5000.
Privates are private
Be clear with your child that anything covered by underwear is private, and no one should ask to see or touch these parts of the body. Explain that sometimes people – such as family members at bath-time or doctors or nurses – may need to touch their private parts. But let your child know that these people should always ask if it’s OK first.
Always remember your body belongs to you
Explain to your child that their body belongs to them, and no one has the right to do anything that makes them feel uncomfortable. If anyone tries, they should tell a trusted adult.
No means no
Your child has the right to say ‘no’ – even to a family member or someone they love. This shows that they’re in control of their body and their feelings are respected.
Talk about secrets that upset you
Help your child feel confident enough to speak up about secrets that they’re worried about. Reassure them that they won’t get into trouble. Secrets shouldn’t be kept in exchange for something, and should never make your child uneasy.
Speak up, someone can help
If your child is sad, anxious or frightened, they should talk to an adult they trust. That person doesn’t have to be a parent or family member – it can be a teacher or a friend’s parent, or it can even be Childline. Their phone number is 0800 1111.