Social media isn't simply a way of life for children, it's life itself. To help them keep their online interactions safe, productive, and positive, we offer the most up-to-date research and guidance on social media basics. Learn about the latest apps and websites, and get tips on talking to your children about sharing, posting, and avoiding digital drama. Below are some guides that will help you to get to grips with various type of Social Media.
All the popular Social Media platforms (Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook, etc.) all have an age restriction of 13, and WhatsApp have raised their age limit to 16. Therefore, no Primary school student should have a social media profile. There are good reasons for this age restriction to be in place. For example, inappropriate content, lack of maturity to use the site safely, exposing them to harmful content, risk of being contacted by sexual predators, creating an online profile which will be hard to remove in the future, placing added pressure on the young person to deal with situations beyond their years. The Communication Act 2003 makes it an offence to send anything on the Internet that is offensive, indecent, threatening or false and the reason for sending it is to cause the other person annoyance, inconvenience or needles anxiety. The age of criminal responsibility in England is 10 years old so we have to ensure they are using the Internet in a responsible and appropriate way.
- Discuss what should be kept private online (personal information, photos etc.) and decide rules for making and meeting online friends.
- What is your child doing online? Only allow them to play online games that are age appropriate. Check the PEGI rating of the game.
- Install antivirus software, secure your internet connection and use Parental Control functions on your home broadband for computers, mobile phones and games consoles to block unsuitable content.
- Parental control tools are not always 100% effective so don’t rely on them alone to protect your child.
- Locate your computer in a common area and always supervise the use of webcams and applications which allow voice or video chat.
- What other devices allow internet access? Consider other handheld devices such as mobile phones, games consoles, Kindles, iPods, Chromebooks, etc.
- Talk about the websites or tools within your household, what do people like to use and why - this can often open opportunities to discuss safe behaviour.
- Teach how to block or report people online who send nasty or inappropriate messages or content. Encourage them not to retaliate or reply.
- Emphasise importance of telling an adult they trust if they see something online that makes them feel scared, worried or uncomfortable.
- Be realistic - banning the internet or technology will not work and it often makes a young person less likely to report a problem. Education around safe use is essential.
Facebook Guide for Parents
Parents Guide to Instagram 2013
Twitter Guide for Parents
A Parents Guide to Snapchat
Guides curtesy of http://www.connectsafely.org/