Most of the popular social media services require users to be at least 13 years of age, so none of our children should be signed up to these websites. There are lots of social media websites and apps that people use to chat, comment, share pictures and game with their friends. Many parents and carers wonder when is the best age to let their child have a social media account. Some don’t want their children to have underage accounts. Others may have decided their child is not quite ready for social networking, even if their child is begging them.
What are the risks?
Anybody can post and share videos, pictures, or ideas on social media. This means children may see things they don’t want to, including sexual or violent content.
Children, like adults, can feel more confident when they are online as they feel protected by the screen. This can result in them, or their friends, saying or doing something they’d be less likely to do offline, including oversharing.
Social media lets people share information about who they are and what they like doing – with lots of different people. It’s easy to share things online that we wouldn’t face-to-face. Once something has been shared, you can never be sure who has seen it, saved it, or shared it.
Making friends with people they don’t know.
Chatting and meeting new people is the main reason that most social media services exist. This opens up the opportunities for adults to contact children online. It’s also easy to set up fake profiles, and some adults may even pretend to be children when they’re much older. This makes it hard to tell the difference between someone who’s genuine and a fake. Some people online, can also put pressure on children or manipulate them into doing something they don’t want to do.
Below are some our pupils explaining what some of the most popular sites are, and how to stay safe on them.