Why change?

Well done! By using this self-help guide you have taken a brave step forwards. You might be concerned about your online sexual behaviour and want to take positive steps to deal with it. You have the power to stop yourself from offending online and this guide will provide you with information and tools to help you achieve this goal.

Before starting, you can watch the video below, which tells the story of a man who was arrested for viewing sexual images of children online. He talks about how calling our confidential Stop It Now! helpline to get advice helped him to start his journey to stop looking at sexual images of children online.


Of course making changes in life is never easy. For example, smokers rarely stop smoking at the first attempt, just as people who are concerned about their weight usually try several different diets. But people do successfully change their behaviour all the time. We think there are three initial steps that help people to change their problematic online behaviour.

Step 1  Recognise and accept you have a problem.

Step 2  Recognise that viewing inappropriate material online is harmful both to your own life and the and the lives of others.

Step 3  Develop a plan for change

This website aims to help you work through these steps and build a healthier, happier life.

In the first step you need to be as honest as you can, if you can identify the areas that apply to you and your sexual behaviour; then you can start to address problem areas.

It is important to be aware that working on these problems can become difficult and distressing, as personal growth and change often can be.

Most of us recognize that change doesn’t suddenly happen, but it is gradual and a person’s motivation changes. A popular framework for discussing motivation to change is the Stages of Change Model developed by James Prochaska, Ph.D. and Carlo DiClimente, Ph.D.

In Changing for Good (1994), Prochaska and DiClemente describe the six stages of change:

Identify where you are in the cycle by giving examples in the box.

Stage of Change Characteristics Examples My examples
Pre-contemplation Not currently considering

change: “Ignorance is


Justify the behaviour
“it’s not as bad as…”
“I’m not hurting anyone”.
Contemplation Ambivalent about change:

“Sitting on the fence”

Not considering change within the next month

Thinking of pros and cons of behaviour
Preparation Some experience with

change and are trying to

change: “Testing the


Researching change on-line, finding out where support groups are.
Action Practising new behaviour

for 3-6 months

No longer doing harmful behaviour, working through self-help material, attending support groups
Maintenance Continued commitment to sustaining new behaviour

Post-6 months to 5 years

Plan for follow-up support

Discuss coping with relapse

Having alternative activities that meet needs

Lapse/Relapse Resumption of old behaviours: “Fall from


Evaluate trigger for relapse

Reassess motivation and barriers

Plan stronger coping strategies

Download printable template >

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