Talking points: Using social media for the first time

Talking points: Using social media for the first time

If you are considering allowing your child to set up a social media profile here is a video clip and a few talking points to start off on the right footing:


1. Why are you interested in joining?

Start on a positive footing by asking your child to describe the things they like about it. This is a good opportunity to find out about how it works together. Ask them to show you around the main features of the service and the profiles of some of their friends. A good exercise is to try and find out how to report bullying and other forms of harassment. If you are happy that it is a fun environment that is suitable for your child, talk about what concerns you about them using it and ask your child if there is anything they are worried about.  Then clearly set out how you expect them to behave and how you plan to keep an eye on what they are doing. It is a good idea to talk to the parents of your child’s firiends and classmates before making any decisions or commitments.


2. Who can see your posts online?

We recommend that children set their profile to private when they start social networking so that only their friends can see what they post. Explain to them that even with the tightest privacy controls, content posted online can be easily seen by people they don’t know.  Spend some time together using search engines and the search function on the social networking service trying to find your child’s profile.


3. Who do you make friends with or follow online?

It’s a good idea to talk about your child’s friends list. “Friends” is the catch-all term for any contacts on social networking sites. Sometimes, in their desire for popularity, children become too relaxed about who they’ll accept as ‘friends’. Encourage them to review their list of online ‘friends’ regularly, so they are sharing their information only with people they trust.  If you use the same service as your child, we recommend you befriend or follow them; at least for a probationary period.


4. How would you react if someone you don’t know contacts you?

Be sure to put emphasis on the fact that they should NOT reply to any unwanted or unsolicited messages. Although it may seem obvious, often scam artists or predators use message which draw responses from young people. So it’s good to make sure your child knows how important it is to ignore them.


Top Tip

Sometimes a teenager won’t tell a parent about a bad experience they have had online because they fear that you might solve the problem by keeping them off their favourite social networking services. However, if they feel they can talk about their online habits with you, without judgement, or the threat of being disconnected it will lead to more honesty in the long run.

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Talk to someone

Worried about something you have seen online or concerned about your child? Childline and the National Parents Council Primary offer free advice and support service.

Childline is a support service for young people up to the age of 18.There is a 24hr telephone, online and mobile phone texting service.

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The National Parents Council Primary enables and empowers parents to be effective partners in their children’s education.

01 887 4477

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