Advice on E-Safety

Five top tips for safe use of social media (The Parent Zone)

It’s common knowledge that today’s young people are frequent and prolific users of social media. Parents are often worried about the risks of social media use, but there are plenty of safe, sane and responsible ways for young people to interact on these platforms. Have a look at our five top tips for encouraging and supporting safe social media use among young people.

1. Choose the right privacy settings. We know that some young people like to set the privacy settings on their social media accounts as low as possible to help them stay plugged in to all the interactions and sharing that goes on. While the impulse to connect with their peers is a good one, there are risks to being too open online and privacy settings can be a valuable tool for safe social media use. Ask your children what privacy settings they have in place already. Encourage them to do things like setting their default sharing option on Facebook to ‘friends’ (i.e. people they’ve already connected with) rather than ‘everyone’. Many social media sites regularly update the way privacy settings work, so it’s a good idea for your child to check theirs occasionally.

2. Think carefully about photo sharing. It’s important to be careful with any information you share online, but photos are especially sensitive. Once a photo is posted to a social media platform like Facebook or Instagram, it can be hard to control whether others view, share or download it. Your child shouldn’t share any photos they wouldn’t want you, another family member or even a complete stranger to see, and they should be aware that their friends can also upload and tag them in photos. Facebook allows you to review all things you’re tagged in using the Activity Log – your child can use this setting to stay on top of what they’re associated with.

3. If something does go wrong, report it. Social media sites normally allow users to report violations of their terms and conditions. If your child encounters something inappropriate on social media, they can take action to have it blocked or removed. CEOP’s Thinkuknow site provides a thorough guide on how to report abuse or inappropriate content, and is an excellent first place to turn if you or your child is worried.

4. Get involved. It’s tempting for parents to focus on the risks of social media use, but there are many positive ways for kids to interact online. Lots of people use social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook to stay informed about current events and get involved in activism and advocacy. Young people can also follow artists, scientists, journalists and other public figures to learn more about a range of topics, like music or technology. 


5. Build friendships. In addition to getting involved in the broader world, social media can be a great resource for less confident young people who have difficulty with social stress and making friends. Chatting and playing games with friends can seem easier from the comfort of your own home, and these social media interactions may even help some children build confidence in offline social settings.

To find out more about how to use the internet safely, visit our Moodle VLE page and/or attend one of our E-Safety Parents' Events. There is also a wealth of information for parents/carers and students on CEOP and the Think-u-Know websites. Click on the images below to find out more.



The website Parent Zone has issued some advice for families under the title of 'Take your great offline parenting online'

Make these conversations and activities part of your routine family life:

  • Ask your child where their favourite places are online, and, who they talk to.

  • Ask if they have have ever seen content that upsets them or promotes extreme views - of any kind.  Open up the discussion and find out what they think.

  • Talk to your child about how you want them to behave online - make sure they behave online as you would expect them to behave offline.

  • Discuss with the the family what the technology rules are in your house and keep talking about them.

  • Make sure you have set up the technology in your house the way you want to - explore settings and parental controls and update them as your children grow - do it as a family.

  • Set some boundaries - remember tired children don't make good decisions.

You can find out more helpful information on being safe online by accessing our E-Safety pages on the Moodle VLE.