Keeping children safe online

A Parent’s Guide to Social Media

skips safety net skips safety netWith social media you can send messages, share pictures, videos and chat with people all over the world.
skips safety net skips safety net … but who are you connecting with?
Anyone can use the Internet. Not everyone is who they say they are and some people are not nice.
skips safety net social influencer Age ratings will help to keep you safe
Most social media platforms require users to be of a minimum age to use their services. Lying about age and providing false information is very common among children. Unfortunately many parents are aware this is happening.
skips safety net skips safety net Why is it important to use your real age?
Children will have access to better safety settings when talking to people who are the same age and share similar interests/hobbies.
They will see content appropriate for their age.
If they lied and used an older age, they will be exposed to content, language and advertising that is not appropriate and safety settings will fail.
skips safety net The dangers of having a social media account when under age – the risks are very real.
Example: If a child is 7 but says they are 14 when they sign up for an account.
Potential Dangers Now:
  • They get used to lying when signing up to other apps and websites.
  • They may get friend requests from older children.
However, in 4 years time when the child becomes 11, the social media computer will believe that they are 18, an adult.
Potential Dangers:
  • They will get friend requests from adults.
  • They will see adverts targeted at adults.
  • They will see content for 18+
  • Children safety settings will not work.

What you can do to help keep your child safe online

  • Do not allow your child to sign up to any social media accounts for which they are under age. Your child will be much safer online and is much less likely to see any inappropriate content.
  • If your child has a social media account, if you follow them, you will be able to see the content they put out and engage with. You will also be better equipped in helping to guide them.
  • Discuss the positive and negative elements of social media and always remind them to think before they share.
  • Regularly discuss with your child the importance of letting you know who they are connecting with and not to purchase anything online without gaining your permission first.
  • Regularly remind your child they should only connect online with friends and family they know in the physical world and not to accept ‘friend play request’ from strangers.
  • Always let your child know that they should always say if they see or hear anything online that makes them feel scared or uncomfortable and to never arrange to meet someone who they have met online.
  • Let them know that they do not have to feel as though they have done something wrong, nobody is going to get cross and it is not their fault.
  • If you are concerned with anything you or your child has seen or asked to do, please call Childline or tell your child’s school.

Always encourage your child to:

tell a trusted adult
Tell a parent or trusted adult, like a teacher.
older brother or sister
Tell an older brother or sister.
childline 0800 1111
Tell Childline.

They will know how to help.


Our award-winning Safety Net workbook

Safety Net book and pages

Safety Net is an award-winning fun and colourful resource packed with 24 pages of engaging content, illustrations, crosswords and wordsearch puzzles proven to help children stay safe when using the Internet, social media, gaming and more.

The friendly format will encourage your child, from an early age, to be open about what they do and see online without fearing they have done something wrong.

Suitable for:

  • Children 6-14 years.
  • All parents to read to their young children.

Now available as a standalone resource outside of our school workshop and webinar programmes.

Visit our bookshop

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