You are about to start having fun on social media
Advice for young people
If you are thinking about using social media with friends and family, just before you make up your mind have a look at this advice to make sure you are well prepared.
How to set up (or check) a social media account
What to think about
Which social media platform is right for me?
Choosing who I chat with
This is for you if:
You are setting up your social media account for the first time
You already have a social media account (check and refresh your set up)
What can I do on a social media account?
- With social media, you get tools that let users chat, message and share photos and videos with their friends and family
- You could chat with family far away on your birthday or if you have some news to share
- You can share pictures of your pets with friends or make them laugh with something funny
- It can be a great way to keep in touch with your friends and be part of a group
- You can follow sports or music stars
- You can share things you have made like drawings or photos
- You can see what other people are doing and share your own adventures
There are a few things to think about
When you set up your account at the start, there are some settings you can choose. These help you to control who sees what you post and who can get in touch with you.
Although you probably cannot wait to get started, it is worth spending a moment to get these settings right.
Select who can see your posts. Not all social media platforms have the same controls, but you can often choose: Only me? Close friends? Friends or just anyone? Instagram, Snapchat and Facebook links.
Not all have the same age limits. Not all have the same amount of moderation and some encourage users to be anonymous (that means to hide who they are). Check the age limit for the app you plan to use and make sure it is not for adults.
Although it is tempting to follow your friends to any social media platform they switch to, there is more bullying to be found when people can be anonymous – that means chatting without their name showing.
People can think that because they are anonymous, they can say anything they like and get away with it. They might do or say things they would never dare to do if you were in the same room with them.
Some social media apps have lots of people trying to check that users follow their rules, (they are called moderators) but some have fewer.
Some social media apps have many more tools that users can use to block or restrict people who are nasty online. These often change when new updates are released.
Talking to people you have never met offline can put you at risk. People can pretend to be someone they are not because they want to get you to trust them.
Please remember that wherever people get together, some are kind and others can be cruel. Make sure you only talk to real friends – people who respect you and are kind to you.
Checklist to improve your time on social media
So enjoy your social media life but do take a moment to set up your account right at the start and take another look at settings from time to time.
Don’t simply follow anyone so that they follow you and lots of people you have never met end up in your friend’s list. This may make you feel popular but is not safe.
Always stay alert and make sure you know who you are talking to!
If at any time you feel uncomfortable or upset, please talk to a trusted adult
If you feel pressured by your online friends, please read about Peer Pressure
If you would like help with something upsetting you, see Helpful Stuff
If you chat to people when you are gaming, see You, your games and your friends