Social media has been around for a while now, but it feels like it’s always changing, doesn’t it? This can be tricky when it comes to parenting and making sure your children are safe online.

So let’s take a look at social media and how you can be a savvy parent, ensuring your child's safety while exploring the digital world. From understanding social media to spotting signs of cyberbullying, we've got you covered.

Understanding social media

As parents, it's crucial to grasp the ins and outs of social media platforms. Take the time to familiarise yourself with popular apps like Instagram, TikTok, and Snapchat. This knowledge will empower you to engage in meaningful conversations with your child about their online experiences and provide guidance when needed.

Some quick tips for both you and your child to better understand social media:

  • Explore platforms together: Dive into social media platforms alongside your child. If they want to use social media, help your child create their account and explore their features together, allowing you to understand the environment firsthand.

  • Stay informed on trends: Social media trends can change rapidly. Regularly check for updates and stay informed about the latest trends and challenges to better connect with your child's online world, and to keep them safe when the latest challenges present risks. 

  • Privacy settings awareness: Understand the privacy settings available on different platforms. Teach your child the importance of privacy and how to adjust settings to control who can see their information.

  • Open dialogue: Maintain an open dialogue with your child about their online experiences. Encourage them to share their favourite platforms, content, and any concerns they might have.

Should children use social media?

The question of whether children should use social media is a common dilemma for parents. Social media can present some opportunities for children - it can encourage their creativity, learning and encourage socialisation. But there can be some risks involved like cyberbullying and potential exposure to dangerous trends. 

As a parent or carer, consider your child’s maturity level if they want to use social media. Do you feel that they’re ready and mature enough? Talk to them about what they want to use it for and ask to be involved in setting up their account. 

How old should children be before they use social media?

There's no one-size-fits-all answer to this question, as every child develops at their own pace. However, many experts suggest waiting until at least 13, the minimum age for most social media platforms. The age limit is set for a reason – to protect children from potential online risks.

Check each social media platform’s terms of use, as each one usually has a different minimum age limit.

The risks of children using social media

Before allowing your child to create a social media account, it's crucial to be aware of the potential risks involved. 

These risks include exposure to inappropriate content, privacy concerns, and the risk of cyberbullying. Understanding these dangers equips you to address them proactively.

Spotting the signs of cyberbullying through social media

One of the main risks many children will face while using social media: cyberbullying is an unfortunate reality in the digital age. 

As a parent or carer, it's essential to be vigilant and recognize signs that your child may be experiencing online harassment. Keep an eye out for changes in behaviour, reluctance to use their devices, or sudden withdrawal from social activities. 

For more in-depth information and statistics on cyberbullying, check our cyberbullying facts and statistics resource.

Dealing with Cyberbullying

Once you’ve identified the signs of cyberbullying, it’s important that you take some steps to ensure the wellbeing of your child: 

  • Open communication: Initiate an open and non-judgmental conversation with your child. Create a safe space for them to share their experiences and feelings about the cyberbullying situation.

  • Document incidents: Keep a record of the cyberbullying incidents, including screenshots, messages, or any other relevant information. This documentation can be helpful if you need to involve authorities or school officials.

  • Report to the platform: Utilise reporting features on the social media platform where the cyberbullying is occurring. Report the incidents and provide the platform with the necessary information to address the issue.

  • Involve school authorities: If the cyberbullying involves classmates or school-related issues, contact the school authorities. Share the documented incidents and work collaboratively to address the situation.

  • Encourage empowerment: Empower your child by discussing strategies for dealing with cyberbullying, such as blocking or ignoring the perpetrator. Reinforce the idea that seeking help is a sign of strength, not weakness.

  • Seek professional support: If cyberbullying has taken a toll on your child's well-being, consider seeking professional support. Consult with a school counsellor, psychologist, or therapist to help your child navigate the emotional impact.

For more information, see our guide on how to deal with cyberbullying as a parent or carer.

Helping children use social media safely

Empower your child to navigate the digital world responsibly by having open conversations about online behaviour, privacy settings, and the importance of reporting any concerning activities. Foster an environment where your child feels comfortable coming to you with their online experiences, ensuring they understand the potential consequences of their actions.

  • Open conversations: Initiate open conversations about online behaviour. Discuss the importance of treating others with respect, being mindful of language, and understanding the potential consequences of their digital actions.

  • Privacy settings guidance: Guide your child through the privacy settings of their social media accounts. Teach them how to control who sees their content and emphasise the significance of safeguarding personal information.

  • Critical thinking skills: Encourage the development of critical thinking skills. Help your child evaluate the credibility of information they encounter online, teaching them to question and verify before accepting everything at face value.

  • Online etiquette: Instil proper online etiquette in your child. Teach them about the impact of their words and actions on others, fostering a positive and inclusive online environment.

  • Reporting mechanisms: Ensure your child understands the reporting mechanisms available on social media platforms. In case they encounter inappropriate content or behaviour, knowing how to report it is crucial for maintaining a safe online space.

  • Establish trust: Build a foundation of trust with your child. Let them know they can come to you with any concerns or experiences, creating an environment where they feel supported and comfortable sharing their online activities.

Setting time limits for social media usage

Balancing screen time is crucial for a child's overall well-being. While there are screen time benefits for children, it’s important for them to know when to put their devices down. Establish clear and reasonable time limits for social media usage, encouraging a healthy balance between online and offline activities.

Navigating the digital playground and using social media responsibly

Navigating social media with your child requires a delicate balance of understanding, communication, and proactive involvement. As parents and carers, we play a pivotal role in guiding our children through the complexities of social media. 

By staying informed, fostering open communication, and setting appropriate boundaries, we can empower our children to make responsible choices online.

Staying safe online with Explore Learning

At Explore Learning we’re committed to keeping our members safe online. We take responsibility to ensure that our tutors know how to keep children safe online and can navigate conversations about online safety if issues are raised. We also encourage parents to use handy guides, just like this one, to ensure that children learn about social media and how to stay safe online.

If you want to know more why not ask about our online safety measures in your free trial?

Achieve real progress

and unlock the joy of learning.

Learn more

Cancel anytime

No joining fee

In centre or online

Memberships to suit you

Cancel anytime

No joining fee

In centre or online

Memberships to suit you

Cancel anytime

No joining fee

In centre or online

Memberships to suit you

netmums recommended
mumsnet rated
Education Investor Awards 2019 Winner Private tutoring company
Sunday Times best big companies to work for 2019
Cyber Essentials Certified Plus
2019 Business Excellence Winner - Best After School Tuition Provider - UK - Explore learning

Your nearest centres

Sorry, we don't have any centres within {{distance}} miles

image alt text from CMS

Explore learning online tuition

We also offer online tuition to flexibly fit into your family’s life.

Results from outside {{distance}} miles

Please select a centre

Showing {{count}} closest to '{{postcode}}'




{{distance}} miles

Select this centre

Search again

Please enter a valid postcode or location