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Social networks are a great place for young people to stay in touch with friends and demonstrate their creativity so it's no wonder over half of children have at least one social media account by the time they're 13. Many young people are sophisticated in the way they use social media apps and websites, tailoring their communication for different audiences, and accessing them from a range of devices including smartphones, tablets, and games consoles.

But social media, like all forms of public communication, comes with some risks.

Here are some simple things you can do to ensure your children's experience is both safe and fun:

  • Talk to your kids about what they do online in a curious rather than condoning way– do you know what they are doing online? Ask them who they interact with online and always mention for them to not to accept friend requests from strangers.
  • Ensure your child is aware of the possible risks on social media. By helping your child understand what the risks are, you can play a big part in preventing them from turning into problems.
  • If you are video calling, ensure you either review or set up privacy and security settings on the device beforehand. Check out our parental controls where you'll find various settings for different platforms, apps and devices.
  • Teach them to limit what they share, i.e., their personal details such as their full name, school, address, family/friend information, etc. Use a safe screen name.
  • Ensure yourself and your kids know how to block, mute or report on different platforms.
  • Remind kids that once they post something online, they can't take it back. Even if the info is deleted from a site, you have little to no control over older versions that may exist on other people's computers and may circulate online.
  • Review your kids friends lists regularly – you may want to limit their friends list to only people you/they know.

To get advice on specific social media platforms follow our guides here:

Social media privacy guides

If your child is using social networking sites to chat to friends and family or share their latest selfie, take a look at our list of social media guides to get you up to speed on the most popular platforms and help them set the right privacy settings.