Dear Parents and Carers,
The world of social media is a constantly evolving and rapidly changing space and in reality it is hard to keep pace with. As parents it is important to know the key features of these platforms, the trends, the places to go for help and the best way to keep your son safe online, remembering that these platforms are an extension of their real world social network allowing them to stay connected well beyond the playground. It is easy to consider social media as the enemy, focusing on the poor choices young people make online including cyberbullying. It is also important to remember that these social media platforms provide young people with access to helpful information and support. It can encourage positive relationships, improve self esteem, increase a sense of belonging and improve educational outcomes when used safely. A young persons use and access to social media can help to promote effective time management skills, self control and a sense of responsibility for the way in which they use it for both themselves and others. One way to protect your family is to have a Family Technology Agreement an example of this can be found HERE.
|TikTok is described as “the world’s leading destination for short-form mobile videos”. In 2018, TikTok was one of the world’s most downloaded apps. If you would like to know more about Tik Tok please click here.|
|Snapchat is a media-sharing and chat app. The text, photos and videos your child sends automatically disappear between 1 and 10 seconds after posting.
While “Snaps” are supposed to be momentary, they can be screenshot, which may leave images open to being used or shared in a way your child didn’t intend.
Families are encouraged to talk to their sons about ensuring that any images they share won’t embarrass them or get them into trouble. Look at Privacy Settings to make sure your son only receives images from people they know. If you would like to learn more about SnapChat please click here.
|Instagram is all about sharing photos and short videos. People can upload their own material, share it with friends, view images and post comments on material shared by their friends and people they follow.
Instagram’s default setting for all photos makes them available for viewing by anyone using Instagram. It’s a good idea create a private account instead, so only people who follow them, and whom they know, can see their images
Instagram also has an Add to Photo Map feature where a location can be added to a photo and reveal where it was taken. This is usually turned off but once it is turned on, it stays on until it is turned off again.
Families are encouraged to talk to their sons about this feature and to think carefully about sharing details of where they are – especially if their account settings are public. A comprehensive Tips for Parents section at Instagram Help.
|YouTube is a video-sharing website. It is designed for users aged 13 or older. YouTube has over one billion users. Everyday people watch over a billion hours of video and generate billions of views. 15 million Australians use YouTube each month according to Social Media Statistics Australia from (April 2019).
The eSafety commissioner provides some very valuable information about what kind of content is not allowed, reporting and includes tips and tools on how to stay safe and screen out disturbing content support.google.com/youtube You can also visit your child’s channel to see what they are posting and what they are watching on YouTube.
|WhatsApp is officially described as a “cross platform mobile messaging app”. Essentially, it allows you to send and receive messages without paying SMS fees.
Users can set up groups to receive messages from each other and to send images, video and audio messages.
The most important thing in relation to social media is to keep the conversation going. Instagram partnered with Social Media expert Anna Homayoun (M.A, P.P.S), author of Social Media Wellness to create a set of 10 questions designed to promote a conversation with your child about Instagram, however, you could apply these questions to any social media platform.
- What do you like about Instagram?
- What do you wish I knew about Instagram?
- What are the top Instagram accounts you enjoy following?
- What are some of the things you think about before you post on Instagram?
- If you have multiple Instagram accounts what do you share in each account?
- How do likes and comments affect how you feel about a post?
- Do you know your followers? What do you do when someone you don’t know tries to contact you via Direct Message?
- How do you feel about the amount of time you spend online?
- Have you ever felt uncomfortable with something you saw or an experience you had online?
- What would you do if you saw someone being bullied on Instagram?
Director of Pastoral Care & Wellbeing