Why do children use social media?

Children and young people use many different social media apps and sites. The most popular are Facebook and Instagram, with many others such as Snapchat, TikTok and Twitter.

There are lots of benefits to social networking. They can allow users to stay connected with friends and family. They can also learn many different things, from make-up or gaming tutorials to making slime, or how to create their own videos.

Like most things, there can be negatives too. For children and young people there are risks that you should be aware of, to help keep your child safe on social media.

Tips to help children stay safe on social media

  • Get to know the safety and privacy settings - Explore the safety and privacy settings on any app, to decide which are right to use for your child. Each app has slightly different ways to set up an account, but most have the option to set an account to private, to not allow friend requests, and to hide the user’s location. Explain these settings to your child and the reasons for having them in place.
  • Age ratings and features - Get to know the age ratings of the apps that your child uses. Many have a minimum age of 13 years old to be able to sign up, but you should check the age rating of individual apps to make sure.
  • Don’t forget that you know your child best, and you might decide that they need to be a little bit older before it’s suitable for them.
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