Navigating their way through school and friendships can be a challenging time for children and teens, even more so when you factor in social media, messaging apps, online behaviours and what feels to many like an ‘always online’ culture.
We developed Wing to be an app that helps parents to keep their children happy and safe online, without being intrusive and tracking or spying on the child or teenager.
Social media safety for children and young people is a big concern for many parents. Whilst many social media platforms have a minimum age requirement of 13 years to have an account or profile, a 2017 study found that around half of children aged 11-12 already have them. There are no age restrictions on viewing public social media posts or YouTube content – anyone with internet access can do this.
Many parents worry about their children being on social media. As well as the high-profile media stories on the potential harm it could be causing young people in relation to their mental health, there can also be privacy concerns. Who can see your child’s profile on social media? Can they find out your child’s location? Who can message your child or connect with them on social media? Can their profiles be found on search engines if someone searches their name?
A lot of parents worry about the safety of their children and teens when they go online and engage on social media platforms. There are frequent stories in the media about how dangerous or damaging these things can be, but it can be very difficult for parents to know how to protect their children from these potential dangers. How can you find the right balance between protection and enabling them to develop essential digital skills for today’s world and accessing the many positive aspects of the online space.
When it comes to online safety resources for parents, there are a number of options available, including things like parental control apps for social media, advice from organisations and charities and resources aimed at helping your child to understand how to stay safe online too.
As parents, we all want to protect our children and give them the tools they need, as they grow up, to be able to make their own informed choices and navigate through life independently. Social media and the online connected world can provide an extra layer of challenge that we didn’t have to deal with so much in our youth. It can be difficult for us as parents to know how much we should be supervising or controlling our children’s access to these platforms.
Concerns about the impact of social media on young people and stories about teens being bullied online are never far from the media headlines. As a result, parents are justified in doubting whether to let their child engage with social media.
Online grooming in this sense is defined as when someone builds an online relationship with a child or young person and forces or tricks them into doing something of a sexual nature. This could be online messages or conversations, sending images or videos, livestreaming, or trying to meet up with the child in person.
The latest research shows that around 70% of UK children aged 12-15 years have at least once social media profile or account. Whilst the figures do drop for younger children, studies show some children as young as five years of age have their own social media account, despite many of the main platforms setting minimum age limits of at least 13 years.