Social media basics 

Get insight on the changing nature of social media, how it’s affecting young people and ways you can help them stay safe and get the best out of their interaction with others.

What’s on the page?

How social media can support young people

Although social media can present some risks, it’s important to understand what the benefits are to give your child the guidance they need to make the best out of their social media use. Below is a list of ways social media can be a source for good for children and young people.

Collaborative learning

Broaden connection and understanding of the world

Children can learn and appreciate different perspectives and worldviews to better understand the world around them and build up their knowledge on a range of topics. With so many ideas shared across a number of platforms, they can discover areas of interest and use the platforms in an educational capacity.

Digital media literacy

Develop communication and technical skills

As social media is now a part of everyday life, it is important for children and young people to learn how to communicate online to prepare them for future opportunities in the workplace and support them in interacting with friends and family.

Mental health and wellbeing

Removing boundaries to develop connections

Social media removes the boundaries of meeting and maintaining people and forming bonds beyond borders. For children who may have a disability or may not feel they can connect with others within their community, it can be a great way to connect with other people who share their ideas and interests.

Strengthen relationships

Having access to family members who may live miles apart of friends who have moved from a local area can help maintain relationships and allow them to stay in touch and share their lives with ease.

A place to seek support

It can open up opportunities to offer support to friends and family that may be experiencing a particular issue. On the flip side for some young people, it can be a place where they can seek support if they are going through something that they cannot talk to those close to them about.

Campaigning for social good

Social media can help young people raise awareness of a particular cause that they are interested in to have a real-world impact on effecting change where they want to see it.

Develop a positive digital footprint

Young people can also use their accounts as bespoke CVs to share their achievements, showcase their talents and build a positive online portfolio that can benefit them in later life.

How to make social media work for your child

Resources document

Common sense media article: Five reasons you don’t need to worry about kids and social media

See article


What teens & parents say is good about social?

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Based on research from the Children’s Commissioner, children say that social media allow them to do the things they want to do and keep them entertained and feeling happy.

“If you are in a bad mood at home you go on social media and you laugh and then you feel better”

Life in Likes report
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Following research on Teenage Loneliness and Technology, TalkTalk found that a quarter (26%) of parents thought that social media and the internet was making their child less lonely – a figure that doubled from their child’s perspective (48%).

Also a quarter (25%) of parents said the internet and social media could be asolution to their teenage child’s loneliness, compared with 51% of teenagers.

See report

5 tips to help young people make the most of social media

Be a good role model

Role model the behaviour you’d like them to express on their social media. Children and young people tend to copy behaviours so it’s important to reflect the same values you’d like them to adopt.

Promote social good

Look for ways that they can do good by using their social media following, whether it’s promoting a cause that will benefit others or share something that will offer support and contribute positively to their digital footprint.

Equip them with the right tools

Ensure teens know how to make use of the social platforms’ privacy settigns to stay in control of who they share with and when and what appears on their account from others.

Stay socially engaged

Actively look for moments to discuss what they post, who they share with and how what they see on their social feed is impacting them to offer them support at the right time.

Talk about striking the right balance

Encourage them to form strong in-real-life relationships outside of social media to ensure they aren’t overeliant on approval and opinions of relationships that are purely online which may negatively impact them.

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