18 October 2021

The effect of social media on children and young people

Teens on phone_exp Mar26

We know as a parent you might worry about the impact of being online and particularly social media has on your child. These concerns can be heightened when we hear stories from others or read things in the press. We have some tips and advice to help you manage your child’s wellbeing online, not just for one specific app, but in general.

Like most things, there are positives and risks about social media, as well as for online gaming and other apps, and it is about how we manage these risks, and how we help our children to manage them. 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. See the reviews of different apps here.

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.

We want all children to have a safe and positive experience when they go online, but sometimes a child might read or see something, or be sent an image, video or message that upsets or confuses them. Find out the signs of cyberbullying and tips to help you deal with it.

Talking to people online can come with risks – especially if your child is talking to someone they don’t know or haven’t met before. To help you understand some of the reasons kids might want to make friends online and give you some tips on how to keep them safer, read our article on Talking to people online: When should I be worried?

A big part of social media for some young people, can be sharing images or videos and it’s important to talk to them about what they’re sharing online and how they can use them safely. See our tips to help keep your child safe.

Remember to regularly talk with your child and find out if there is anything upsetting them that you can talk about. We have some great tips to support your child’s wellbeing online.

If you think that your child’s wellbeing is being affected, as well as following the advice and tips for parents above, there are resources on Childline to help that you could share with your child.


There is a lot of information about staying safe online, that is a good idea for all children and young people to look at.


Childline also have really good advice for your child about feeling good on social media, with ways to help them feel good and tips to help if they are struggling.


Childline’s Calm zone is also packed with tools and activities to help your child de-stress and discover new techniques that can support them when they’re feeling down. Young people can also talk about their worries with others on the Childline message boards.  

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