Should I limit my child on social media?

Social media usage has been steadily growing over recent years and as well as having many benefits, unfortunately, there are also numerous dangers that come with using social media. If you are worried about your child’s use of social media and would like to find out more about protecting them on social media, then this information should provide some useful guidance.

How to check privacy settings

Within any social media account, you are able to check the privacy settings to ensure that your child’s settings are set to Private. In Instagram, for example, from the profile page you click on the menu in the top right, then click on Settings and check that the account privacy is set to Private and not Public, so that only their accepted friends can see their activity.

Age restrictions on social media

The popular social media apps have their own age restrictions, which are:

Instagram – 13

WhatsApp – 16

Snapchat – 13

Twitter – 13

Facebook – 13

However, there are no checks to verify the age of someone setting up an account, so younger users can set up an account if they lie about their age. This is why it is important that parents are aware of which apps and websites their children are using and understand the functions of each one.

Setting app installation to require your approval

You can change the settings so that any app installation must be approved by you. With Apple, you can turn on the Ask to Buy setting under the Family Sharing setting. Android’s Family Link app from Google allows you to monitor what your child is accessing and approve or block any apps they try to install.

Location/GPS security

Some apps show a user’s geographical location, so you should check that the Location services option is disabled to ensure your child’s location is not shared on any social media platform.

Talking to your child about staying safe online

A good way to stay informed about your child’s social media activity is to talk to them and also add them as a friend on the websites, so you can see what they are posting. Ask them to show you how they use any apps that you are not very familiar with and talk about how they know any friends they have connected with.

Additional support

There are a number of useful sites that will provide additional internet safety guidance such as Net Aware which gives you a summary of every social media network and app so you can better understand your child’s social media activity. February 11 is Safer Internet Day and as part of their campaign, you can also find lots of helpful information on the UK Safer Internet Centre website.

Please feel free to contact Gateways via email at so that we can provide you with any assistance on this important topic.