Social Media and Your Child’s Privacy

Social Media and Your Child’s Privacy

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.

Whilst social media has very much become a normal part of life and growing up for so many children and teenagers, there are some very well-publicised risks and potential dangers that can cause parents some concern. Online bullying is a major worry for many, with a recent study of young people indicating that cyberbullying had close links to depression and even suicidal thoughts.

For parents, it can be really tough trying to find a balance between the innate desire to protect your child from risks like these, but also allow them the freedom and privacy to make independent decisions, navigate their own way through their friendships and other relationships, and learn the essential digital skills required in today’s world.

For some parents, it can be very tempting to either ban your children from using social media altogether, or strictly monitor and supervise their use of these platforms. Whilst this approach is understandable, as children get older, this can cause friction and it can negatively affect the parent/child relationship if the young person doesn’t feel that they are trusted or that they are given any privacy or freedom with their online activity.

How Wing can help you to find that balance

Wing is an app that is designed to give parents peace of mind that their child has a level of protection in the online world, but it isn’t a way of spying on the young person or reporting on their every move on social media or messaging apps.

Wing was created because one the app’s founders was worried about their child being bullied online, but they didn’t want to cut them off from the digital platforms that all of their child's friends were using and didn’t want them to feel like they were constantly being monitored by their parents. Wing uses advanced technology, including artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning, to keep an eye on your child’s emotional world and mental wellbeing through the words, images and other ways that they communicate with others online. Wing can alert parents if it detects a ‘threat’ that requires parental intervention, but otherwise simply reports regularly to parents on whether their child’s online activity indicates their interactions are happy and content, sad, stressed or angry. The app is designed so that parents receive some insight into how their child is feeling when they are active online, but also enables the child to have a right to privacy, which can help to build trust in the relationship.

Wing is there to help provide a regular opportunity for parents to talk to their children about what is going on in their lives and online interactions and to share if there is anything happening or worrying them, which they are not sure how to deal with. The app is designed to be used with the full understanding and consent of the child, offering them the safety net that Wing will alert a parent if something significant happens, but giving them the privacy and freedom of expression that young people want as they navigate their way towards adulthood.