Children and Social Media – 10 advices if you allow your children to use social media

Teenagers in Social Media, practical tips and advices when using social media in a safe and healthy way.

Creating a profile on social media certainly has its positives, which is what makes it so attractive to many of us, but we must not forget that being on them can expose us to some unpleasant and even dangerous situations. Teenagers are often the most affected by such situations, so if you have decided to let your children create profiles on social media or if they already have an online presence, we suggest you read these tips to create as safe an environment as possible for them, both physically and virtually.

1. Educate yourself about social media platforms:

The more platforms you are familiar with, the better you will be able to make a judgement about which ones are more suitable for your children.

Here we have listed some of the most popular social applications and sites for children and teenagers:

  • WhatsApp
  • Snapchat
  • Instagram
  • TikTok
  • Discord
  • Tumblr
  • Pheed
  • Kik
  • Reddit
  • Yik Yak

2. Age limit:

Many platforms require a minimum age for their use. Find out about the permitted ages and agree on the right time when your child can start using social media, judging and consulting with other parents, especially the parents of their friends who might encourage them to also have social media.

3. Privacy settings:

Make sure your child’s profile is private and that their personal information and photos are protected. If the privacy of the profile in general or of specific posts is set to “Public,” the photos and other information will be visible to third parties, who might misuse them, and the damage that can be done is very large, not only in the short term but also in the long term. A good practice often observed is for children’s profiles on social media to use nicknames instead of their real names.

4. Contacts:

Prevent contact with strangers by first making your child’s profile private, so you have more control over allowing new contacts. Also, the list of followers or contacts should be checked periodically to verify if their contacts are appropriate and there are no strangers.

5. Prevent posting personal details:

Make your children aware of the risks involved in posting personal information such as phone numbers, addresses, or locations. Children should develop the intuition not to publish information about their daily routines, such as the routes they take or the places they frequent, as these details can put them at risk when not accompanied by parents. Sometimes, even videos recorded inside the house can become subjects of interest for people with bad intentions, as they might show household items.

6. Avoid posting dangerous materials:

Children should be careful with the materials they post to prevent dangerous situations or misunderstandings that lead to offending their peers or communities around them. We suggest you frequently visit your child’s profile to understand how they interact in the virtual world and how others react.

7. Choose a strong password:

We often hear about cases of profile hacking, so to avoid such a situation, choose a long password with a combination of numbers, letters, and symbols to protect their account from unauthorized access. Also, the password should not be shared with anyone else, even if their friends are close or other trusted family members. Sometimes passwords can be exposed unintentionally or without the knowledge of others who trust that password. Also, they should not log into their profiles on other people’s devices, as these might be compromised, which could lead to their theft. 2FA (Two-Factor Authentication) should also be activated by using a phone number or email to receive a second security code that no one else can have.

8. Do not accept friend requests from strangers:

If your child accepts friend requests from strangers, this can pose a risk. Advise them to accept friend requests only from people they know in real life, such as family or friends. Children should be educated not to fall prey to messages that may be sent by third parties containing interesting offers or intentions to offend or threaten.

9. Set rules for their use:

When you go online, time ‘flies’, and this is a problem for both adults and teenagers. You need to set a time limit for how long they should stay online, bearing in mind that this age should not spend more than two hours a day. Define rules for their time spent on social networks and for the types of posts that are permissible. Games played in groups, or multiplayer, often become subjects of abuse if not careful. In most cases, due to nerves and losses in the game, children can become aggressive and may speak with inappropriate language, so advise them to keep calm during this time and to respect the victories of others.

10. Maintain an open dialogue:

Keep open communication with your children and encourage them to inform you about their experiences on social media and any uncomfortable feelings they may have experienced to avoid situations like cyberbullying. Communication is very important, as it also applies to you as parents to have the ability to understand more clearly how your children interact in the virtual world. Good and trust-based communication will make children feel more supported and protected, as well as more responsible for their actions.


Our remarks and conclusions: 

The advice and tips provided above can significantly assist in guiding and understanding children’s behavior on social media. However, it’s crucial for the entire community to recognize the importance of proper education on this matter. At SmartKids, we prioritize this topic, particularly in our Computer courses. Early in the course, we dedicate sections specifically to what we term “digital citizenship.” This encompasses rules and guidelines for appropriate and safe behavior online.

To further explore the concept of digital citizenship and find comprehensive resources on teaching children about safe and appropriate online behavior, consider visiting Common Sense Media. This organization provides valuable insights and guidelines for parents and educators striving to foster a safe and responsible digital environment for young users.


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