26 August 2021

Keeping safe on social media

Social Media Article exp Jan 25

Social media platforms have changed how people use the internet and they’ve become a huge part of our everyday life. We use them to talk to friends and family, share updates, create content and get news.

But while social media platforms are a space where people can connect and learn, there are risks involved in using them. We’ve put together some helpful tips to help keep your child safe on social media.

Here are some tips to help you keep your kids safe when they're using social media. 

Explore the platform yourself  

You know what’s best for your child so exploring the platform yourself is a great way for you to decide whether it’s going to be appropriate for them. Explore the different privacy settings and parental controls available to see if you think it would be ok for your child to have an account.  Remember you can use our expert reviews for more guidance.  

Most social media sites like Facebook and Instagram have age ratings of 13+. Before you decide to set up an account for your child make sure to check the age rating of the platform they’ve asked to use.  

Remember social media can be used in lots of different ways and exploring the platform yourself is a good way to see what sorts of content your child might be exposed to.   

Talk to them about online safety  

It’s important for your child to understand some of the risks that might come with using social media and for them to know what to do if they ever experience anything negative online.  

We have advice on topics such as CyberbullyingSharing images and videos and Online relationships that will help get you started.  

Create the account together 

We would recommend creating your child’s social media account with them. This way you can make sure they sign up with the correct date of birth and help them choose an appropriate profile picture.  

Use this opportunity to make sure all the privacy settings are correct and teach them some key social media skills that can help to keep them safe.  We would recommend showing them how to:  

  • Set their account to private 
  • How to report and block  
  • How to delete a post  

Use our Net Aware reviews to help you.  

Agree some rules around friends and followers 

If an account is private, then videos or images shared on social media platforms can only be seen by followers or friends. Your child’s online connections will most likely be made up of friends and people they know from other offline activities. But sometimes kids might let friends of friends or other people they don’t know follow or friend them. 

Set some rules with your child about who they can connect with online and show them how to ignore follow and friend requests from people they don’t know.  

Talk to them about what they’re sharing  

As there are so many different ways you can share content on social media, it’s really important to talk to your child about what sort of things they plan to share. Remind them to never share personal information, especially their live or frequent locations, with people they don’t know. Also encourage them to think before posting images and videos of themselves online.  Check our advice article on sharing images and videos online for more tips.  

Explore Childline’s 'Feeling good on social media' article 

Social media can be overwhelming at times and make young people feel all types of emotions. Childline has some great advice for children on feeling good on social media and how to manage their digital wellbeing online.  

Make sure your child knows that these resources are there to help and support them and that they can always come to you if they need someone to talk to. 

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