Social media has become a part of our every day lives. It’s a great way to say in touch with family and friends, find out what’s going on, keep up to date with the latest news or learn something new.
However, we can be easily affected by what we see on social media, therefore when it comes to young people, it’s important that we support them in ensuring their social media habits are healthy.
It's also important that children and young people understand that once a photo, video or comment has been posted to social media, it no longer belongs to them. They won't have control over what happens to it. Reactions may not always be positive and the content itself could be taken away from it's original intention.
Each social media platform has its own privacy settings which you should check to make sure they are right for your child. They include things like the ability to set a social media account to private, prevent friend requests from people you or your child don’t know, and hide the location of the device from others.
We’ve put together some information to help you in choosing the right social media platforms and settings for your child.
Most social media platforms come with an age restriction, where the user has to be at least 13 years old.
Lots of young people get around this restriction by providing a false date of birth when signing up. But in doing this, they are more likely to be exposed to content inappropriate for their age. They could also lose some of the additional protections put in place by the platform for those under the age of 18.
The following social media platforms have a minimum age restriction of 13:
YouTube has a minimum age restriction of 18 years old. However, the organisation also offer YouTube Kids, which has content more suitable for children and parental controls available.
WhatsApp has a minimum age restriction of 16 years.
Many social media platforms give the option to share your location when posting, or the ability to ‘check in’ to a place.
If settings aren’t private on your child’s device, then anyone can see where your child is or has been, including people you or your child don’t know.
Each social media platform will have its own way of managing your location settings. You can usually find these under settings and privacy.
Popular social media platforms
There are lots of social media platforms available. To help you navigate some of the ones that are more popular with children and young people, we have provided additional settings advice.