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Social networking is hugely popular and many young people are sophisticated in the way they use social media apps and websites, tailoring their communication for different audiences, and accessing them from a range of devices including smartphones, tablets, and games consoles. But social media, like all forms of public communication, comes with some risks. Not all of these risks turn into actual problems and if children never face any risks, they never learn how to deal with them. By helping your child understand what the risks are, you can play a big part in preventing them from turning into problems.
It’s good practice for apps and websites to have safety advice and well-designed safety features which can make a real difference to how safe your child will be when using them. Work through safety and privacy features on the apps that your child is using, or might use. Make sure they understand the point of these and how to use them. Don’t be put off by believing your child knows more than you: the tools are actually quite easy to manage.
In a mobile age, children can’t be completely protected, even by the best privacy controls another child may use different settings. So it’s important to keep talking to your child about the implications of social media. Getting a sense of what they think is a useful place to start, you may be surprised by how much thought they may have given to the issues. Encourage your child to think carefully about the way they, and others behave online, and how they might deal with difficult situations.
You can find out more about how children use social media, the apps they use, the risks they face, how to use privacy settings, and advice and tips about how to talk to your children at:
To make a report Concerned about online grooming or sexual behaviour online?