Kids use social media to have fun, make and maintain friendships, share interests, explore identities and develop relationships with family. It’s an extension of their offline and face-to-face interactions. What happens when they are getting lured into using it wrong?
Social media sites can pose risks for kids. For your child, these risks include:
- being exposed to inappropriate or upsetting content like mean, aggressive, violent or sexual comments or images
- uploading inappropriate content like embarrassing or provocative photos or videos of himself or others
- sharing personal information with strangers – for example, phone numbers, date of birth or location
- exposure to too much targeted advertising and marketing
- data breaches, like having his data sold on to other organisations.
Navigating the risks of social media
Talking about social media use is the best way to protect your child and ensure his/her internet safety. Talking gives you the opportunity to help your child:
- understand the dangers involved in sharing content and personal information – this includes not only content that your child shares but also images of your child that other people share, or posts and images that others tag your child to
- learn how to navigate the risks – for example, if your child posts an identifiable image of herself, he/she can reduce risk by not including any other personal information
- learn what to do if people ask for personal details, are mean or abusive online, post embarrassing photos of him/her, or share information that links back to her
- manage his/her own digital footprint – for example, you could talk about what your child would like her digital footprint to say about her now and in the future.