It’s not always easy to know what your child is seeing or doing online. You might worry about your child joining in with dangerous challenges or extreme trends you’ve seen in the news.
Here are some things to look out for on social media and what you can do to help keep your child safe.
A trend on social media is when content with a particular theme or format becomes popular and is copied by lots of people.
Trends are a big part of the appeal of social media for teenagers. They may enjoy joining in dance trends on TikTok or making their own videos with popular songs or hashtags. Most trends are harmless but there are some types of content to watch out for your teenager copying.
Sometimes challenges go viral where people take part in dangerous stunts. These can involve eating or consuming something dangerous to get a high, altering their body in some way for a beauty trend or doing something distracting while driving. Some challenges have led to hospitalisation and even death.
Social media allows teenagers to find like-minded groups of people online. Many groups have their own rules of how their members should dress, behave or think. This in itself isn’t a problem but look out for your child behaving in a way that they don’t feel comfortable with or that might seem extreme.
Diet culture is nothing new, but social media has led to younger children worrying about their body image. Some social media trends encourage extreme diets and workouts or unsafe home cosmetic procedures.
Explicit content is against the rules of all social media platforms and will be taken down if reported. But there is a risk children or teenagers see images before content is taken down. Read the NSPCC’s advice if your child has seen content promoting self-harm, suicide and eating disorders.
Most social networks have a minimum age of 13 years old to be able to sign up. Age restrictions are there to protect children and their personal information. The National Crime Agency has advice for parents on when your child is ready for social media.
If your child is on social media, try to have open conversations with them about how to stay safe online.
Talk to your child about:
If you are worried about the content your child is seeing online, you can:
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