Make sure geo-location is disabled to keep their whereabouts private.
To help your child understand how this will help keep them safe, you can:
If you’d like a step-by-step guide on how to disable your child’s location on their smartphone, visit our parental control how-to guide to help you set it up on an Android or an iPhone.
Encourage them to think about why friends may share certain posts. Show them how to gently challenge their friends if they find their content offensive. Remind them they can always talk to you about things happening online.
Remind your child that these images are their personal digital footprint for years to come and advise them to use settings that only let them share with friends they know.
You can also help them maintain a positive presence online by:
CEOP’s ‘You and your tattoo’ has some excellent advice to help your child manage their online reputation. Together with your child you can watch the interactive film and discuss the issues that it raises to learn together and teach them ways to keep their online presence positive.
Playing games online can be fun and positive but make sure your child understands people may hide behind fake profiles for dishonest reasons and learn how to block and report anything offensive.
Learn more about the social gaming platforms that your child might be using and how to keep them safe.
Most social media apps have a minimum age rating of 13.
If a social network has set an age limit it means that some of the content may not be suitable for a younger child.
Recommendations if your child is under the minimum age for a social network and they want to join:
Take a look at our guide to find out the minimum age required for the most popular social networks
Make sure your child understands that people may hide behind fake profiles for dishonest reasons and the person they’ve been chatting to could easily be someone with bad intentions.
Learn about helping your child understand the difference between friends and those who may seek to do them harm to ensure they have a safer online experience on social media.
Talk together about peer pressure and how screens and anonymity can lead to behaviour that is hurtful.
No parent wants to think of their child hurting someone online through cyberbullying. To help them exhibit positive online behaviour you can:
See our top Internet Manners to help you and your child get to grips with behaviors that will promote a kinder social media world.
Stay calm, listen without judging and reassure your child that you can help. Discuss any action you may take together. Encourage them not to retaliate and to save any evidence.
Talking to your children about cyberbullying is as important as talking to them about any other type of bullying. Children who are being cyberbullied usually find it difficult to talk about it and it can be an upsetting, awkward and difficult subject for parents too.
Make sure they know they can talk to you if anyone ever upsets them over the internet or on their mobile phone, and give them the space to talk about anything without being judgemental or getting upset.
If your child is being cyberbullied on social networks, there are lots of ways that you can put a stop to it such as reporting it, blocking the person(s) who is bullying your child, and taking screenshots of the bullying comments.
We’ve created a cyberbullying conversation starter guide offering the right expert advice to help protect your child from cyberbullying.
Make sure they know that some people may not be who they say they are and tell your child how privacy settings can put them in control of who they talk to.
Help your child stay in control of what information they share by taking a look at these “How to” guides to setting privacy settings on popular social apps.
Talk together so they understand your concerns. Agree house rules on when and how long they can go online and which sites they should visit.
Find simple tips to help children develop healthy online habits and a good digital diet to help them thrive on and offline.
Discuss the reasons why they feel the need to share such images and the potential long-term impact this could have on them if the pictures are used without their consent.
Peer pressure and the desire for attention can be reasons why some children feel the need to share inappropriate photos with their online friends.
There has been a rise in people using video-streaming apps and sites to sell their nudes or sexually suggestive content. With concerns raised about how social media and tech play a role in teens sharing images, our Internet Matters expert panel provides their advice on teens and sexting, sending, and sharing nudes.
Talk to them about who they’ve shared the information with and assess the risk it poses to your child. You can also ask your child to remove the information from their account and help them understand how to share safely.
On the topic of oversharing on social media, we asked a parent to give us her take on it and what real life tips she could offer to other parents struggling with the same issue. Here’s what she shared with us.
If your child is a keen gamer and into games like Fortnite or Roblox, why not take the time to play a game together to be more aware of the benefits and the risks that they experience when they play. You can also use our top 6 gaming tips to ensure they have a safer experience gaming online.
If you feel in the dark about the apps and platforms that your child is using, get yourself familiar with them – check out our TikTok and Houseparty guides. This is a great way to stay engaged with their online use and give them the right advice about how to stay safe.
Also, check out our Digital Resilience Toolkit to help them build the right coping strategies to make smarter choices online.
If you’re planning to get your child a smart toy for Christmas making sure you understand what it does and how it communicates with the online world matters to ensure your child’s data and privacy is safe.
See our Smart toy parent buyers guide on other things you need to consider.
If your child has downloaded an app that you’d like to know more about, Common Sense Media has a large array of reviews on a range of apps, media and YouTube channels that will help you understand the risks, and get an idea of what other people think about that app as well.
If your child is spending too much time on social media sharing their latest selfie or scrolling through their feed, why not strike up a conversation about what they share and with who. See tips to help you start the conversation and keep it going.
If you’d like to have a screen-free day to make the most of family time, there are a number of great tools that can help you do just that. The Forest App is a great app that grows beautiful forest on your device the longer you don’t use it. You can use it to gamify your screen-free day and encourage children to learn how to balance screen time better.
For ideas on how to make screen-free days great, visit NurtureStore to get ‘Screen free activities‘.
If you’ve bought your child a console, smartphone, or tablet for Christmas it might be an idea to get it set up with the right control settings, charged, and ready to use before you wrap it up. See our Set up safe guide to help you get started and save time on Christmas day.
Help the whole family build good online safety habits by setting up a family agreement to set digital boundaries on when, where and how screens and tech is used. Childnet has a great Family Agreement template you can use.
Use our Internet Manners top tips to help children develop good ‘netiquette. You can also use tech tools to help create a safer environment for them to explore, whether it’s Apple’s Screen Time tool or Google a range of family tools including Digital Wellbeing, Google SafeSearch, and YouTube Restricted Mode.
Visit our parental control how-to guides to find step-by-step guides on how to set digital boundaries to help your child enjoy their digital world smartly and safely.
See what the expert say on questions surrounding oversharing and monitoring what children share online.
Mummy gamer shares how she helps her son navigate the online gaming world and her concerns around potential risks.
Karl Hopwood, Lauren Seager-Smith & Kate Jones
This practical guide for parents and carers whose children are using social media platforms was developed by Internet Matters, NSPCC, Parent Zone, and UK Safer Internet Centre.