Social media in the summer holidays – advice for parents and carers
Summer holidays can be full of fun and memorable activities and events that families want to capture and share with family and friends. Fortunately, digital devices can be portable, waterproof and small enough to carry to beaches, parks and anywhere else your summer activities take you. And what better way to stay in touch over the summer than to use your favourite social media platform?
Whether you and your children use TikTok, Snapchat, Instagram or something else entirely, social media can be used safely over the summer with just a few precautions:
Check out the Safety Centres for your favourite apps to understand the terms and conditions for using the platform:
- Tiktok – TikTok has created a series of 30 second “You’re In Control” videos to explain what you can and can’t do on their platform.
- Snapchat – Snapchat notes that snaps disappear but a friend may have taken a screenshot
- Instagram – Instagram created a guide for parents and is also now dedicating a huge portion of the Safety centre efforts to reduce cyberbullying
- WhatsApp – WhatsApp explains how to enable two-step verification to keep your account safe
Cybersecurity tips to use your favourite apps safely
- Read through the Safety Centre, FAQ section and Parental Resources section, if available
- Use the strongest passwords that you can create
- Opt for the highest privacy level that the app offers
- Enable two-step verification, where possible
- Be careful of any direct messages sent to you – if you don’t know who it is, don’t click on the link
- Keep your profile as private as possible and do not give out personally identifiable information
- Report spam accounts and block unwanted followers
- Stay safe while live-streaming (read tips and advice here)
- Update your apps regularly
Special considerations for summer holidays
- Be mindful of the types of pictures you and your children post – consider who will see them and how you would feel if they were shared with a wider audience
- Inspire your young person to have a healthy body image
- Be wary of broadcasting holiday photos which let everyone, including thieves, know that you are not at home
- Summer holidays can mean that children and young people have more time online and without facing the consequences of seeing each other at school the next day, cyberbullying may be the result
There are lots of different social media platforms for young people to choose from and each of them has a Safety Centre or website page full of safety tips and resources. Be sure to consult them, check your privacy settings, be mindful of what you post and most of all, enjoy your social media over the summer.