Instruct the young person on what to do in an unpleasant situation

The original Finnish text has been published in the guide “Kysy, kohtaa, kuuntele. Opas seksuaalisen houkuttelun ja seksuaaliväkivallan ennaltaehkäisyyn nuorisotyössä”, Koordinaatti.
Although this article deals with young people, children may also be targets of sexual solicitation and harassment.

Strengthen the young person’s ability to refuse interaction that makes them feel uncomfortable. They should be able to stand up for themselves even under pressure. It is important that the young person knows how to behave in the social media channels that they use. They need to know how to block and report inappropriate content, contacts or users to the administration or the police, if necessary.

Instruct the young person on how to deal with unpleasant messages

The messages can be saved as screenshots so that they serve as proof, if needed. If screenshots cannot be taken, remind the young person that they can take pictures of their phone screen using another device. Encourage the young person to keep their social media accounts and users private, because public accounts reveal a lot of information about the account owner to other users. The young person should know that they have adults around them who want to know if they are in trouble, need help or if something has gone wrong.

No means no, also on the internet

You should regularly remind the young person that they have the permission to leave inappropriate and distressing conversations and there is no need to be polite in these situations. The young person does not need to try to please anyone with their behaviour, especially if their personal safety is at risk. No means no, also in digital environments. This also applies to situations where the young person has made the first move, given hints, flirted or been provocative. Sexual harassment or solicitation is never the young person’s fault. The perpetrator is always responsible.

What’s the difference between flirting and harassment?

Discuss the following with the young person:

  • What kind of communication is flirting? How do you recognize it?
  • How can you know whether the other person likes insinuating messages?
  • How do you know that the other person feels uncomfortable, distressed or bad about your messages? How can you tell?
  • What kinds of messages can offend others?

How do you deal with unpleasant situations?

Instructions for young people:

  • What does your instinct say? If your alarm bells go off, end the conversation, delete the person from your contacts and block them, if necessary.
  • In an oppressive or threatening situation, you are allowed to be rude and leave the conversation, even without saying anything. The most important thing is that nothing bad happens to you, and you do not end up in unpleasant situations.
  • Save strange, suspicious and inappropriate messages.
  • Notify the administration. The administration is obligated to check all the reports.

More information