It’s the moment many parents dread – the point at which their child’s requests for a mobile phone can no longer be ignored. In the past it used to be that moving up to secondary school at the age of 11 was the trigger, but it seems now that many primary school kids are just as likely to be “phoned up”.
However, once most have the phone they want to be on the social media platforms and this enters our children into a different world, not always a ‘happy’ place, it can be a dark place where they are venerable if they are not monitored and kept safe…
What Your child could be exposed to; or encouraged to do:
- Be a Bully or become a victim.
- Be groomed by older children, men or women.
- Dress and act in a sexual way to be cool, get likes or be trolled!
- As ex police staff these platforms are ultimately a paedophile’s dream, they can look at, stalk, follow and fantasize over your children if they have a fake profile and they have added your child as a ‘friend’. Also many children have not switched off their location so I can see where they are and so can they… this is just dangerous! They know what our children look like and they know where our children live! We have to get a grip on this trend and make sure our children stay safe!
*** The minimum age to open an account on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Tumblr, Kik, and Snapchat is 13. For Vine, Tinder and Yik Yak it’s 17. YouTube requires account holders to be 18, but a 13-year-old can sign up with a parent’s permission. Despite these clearly stated and published age restrictions, large and growing numbers of children 12 and under are using social media networks, often with their parent’s knowledge and consent. ***
Do you have children using social media? Yesterday the Children’s Commissioner warned that children leaving primary school are “ill-equipped” for the “emotional risks” of social media as they head into secondary school. And she’s called on schools to be made to run compulsory digital literacy lessons. If your child is using the internet and you want some extra help to support them and you then this is a great book!
1. Why do kids love Snapchat?
They love the spontaneity of it. It’s been (rightfully) drummed into their heads for years that photos and videos you share are on the Web forever and are really hard to take back, so Snapchat’s a relief in a lot of ways. It’s playful and “in the moment”— a nice change from the self-presentation and reputation issues in social media services that display photos indefinitely. They don’t have to worry about some invisible audience. Most of the messages on SnapChat are ‘Streaks’ pointless images with a S on it. Not too bad, however it is the start of an addiction as they have to keep doing it everyday to keep it going. It is ok if the messages are nice but not if they are threatening.
Q: How do I keep a ‘Snapstreak’ going?
A: To keep a Snapstreak going, both Snapchatters must send a Snap (not Chat) back and forth to each other within a 24 hour window.
2. Does Snapchat have a minimum age?
Yes, the minimum age is 13, in compliance with the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA). But, when you download it, Snapchat asks for your date of birth, and—if your birth year tells it you’re under 13—you’re redirected to the kid version, called “SnapKidz.” SnapKidz users can’t add friends or share anything, and the app doesn’t send any information to the company. Instead, kids’ photos and videos are saved just to their devices’ “camera roll.” If you’re a kid, that means you can only play with the photos, etc. in SnapKidz on your own device—not share them. So you’ll be looking for work-arounds such as sharing them with a different media-sharing tool on your phone, such as texting, email, Facebook, etc. —or you can just delete Snapkidz and start over with a fictitious birth date. I did not realise it was 13+ and some of the private messages I have read have shocked me to the core…This should be 18+ and not available on a phone for under 18’s. Parents need to be educated as well as the children.
I have never heard of “SnapKidz.”
3. What are the risks in using Snapchat?
Though there’s nothing inherently dangerous about Snapchat, it’s often referred to as “the sexting app.” There’s no research showing that’s true and plenty of anecdotal evidence that it isn’t the focus for teens, but—like any media-sharing service—Snapchat can be used for sexting, harassment, etc. It can be particularly hurtful if that happens, because Snapchat is typically used among friends (or at least people who have each other’s username or phone numbers). I disagree, it is very dangerous app because under 16’s can set it up without parents permission. When a phone is sold to a parent for a child, their D.O.B should be entered and correct safety controls activated.
4. Is it good that Snapchat photos and videos disappear in seconds?
Yes, because photos and videos aren’t put on display, they’re not “out there” forever, typically, so there isn’t the self-presentation or reputation anxiety. The ephemeral aspect actually adds a degree of safety, as long as people don’t have a false sense of security about it—because media can also be saved as screenshots or photographed with another phone and shared with or without the originator’s knowledge. That can be good or bad—bad because a screen-captured image can embarrass the people in it, good because—if things do go wrong—it can be used for evidence against someone trying to hurt the people in it. I think it is bad, not good and easier for some to bully and abuse, they need to be taught to take screen shots if anyone is bullying them or being sexually explicit and report straight away.
5. What’s the best way to help kids stay safe in Snapchat?
As with all social media, respect toward self and others makes us safer. Whether the experience is positive or negative depends so much on how people use the app or service, whether or not they’re really friends, and how they treat each other in Snapchat. Friends may kid around, but most kids treat their friends well. It just never hurts to have a conversation (never a lecture) with them about how they use Snapchat just to be sure.
My opinion some money should be spent on promoting ‘SnapKidz’ and under 18’s should not have access to SnapChat.
*** As for our job as parents, it’s important to keep the lines of communication with your kids as open as possible and work together to figure out what’s appropriate for them, in terms of safety, privacy, reputation and time management. It generally just works better to talk with our kids about their favorite tools—with genuine interest, not fear—because they’re more likely to come to you when they need help and you’re much more likely to be kept in the loop about all the cool technology they use and you get to learn about. ***
Which leads me to Instagram
1. Why do kids love Instagram?
Because they love media, sharing it and socializing with it on their phones, and Instagram makes all that doable in a simple, eye-catching way. Teens like taking, cropping, enhancing, sharing and commenting on photos and videos. But the commenting isn’t just commenting – in effect, they’re socializing in mixed-media conversations that include plenty of likes and links too. Parents also should know that, on Instagram, photos and videos are public by default and can contain location data. So it’s important for kids to use privacy settings to limit their audience.
2. Does Instagram have a minimum age?
Yes, it’s 13, in compliance with the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act. But Instagram doesn’t ask users to specify their age, and there are many younger children who use the service, often with their parents’ permission. Whether Instagram is “safe” depends more on how it’s used than on the age of the user, but Instagram will delete underage accounts if they’re notified and can verify the users are under 13. My son is proof that he has hacked the system to set it up again after the first account was deleted. Parents need more support and education on parenting children in the age of social media.
3. What are the risks in using Instagram?
Though there’s nothing inherently dangerous about Instagram, the main things parents worry about are typical of all social media: mean behavior among peers and inappropriate photos or videos that can hurt a child’s reputation or attract the wrong kind of attention. Parents are also concerned that people their kids don’t know can reach out to them directly. Kids can learn to manage these risks, which is why we wrote this guide. From my findings from my sons phone I disagree! Bullying, abuse, under age sex discussions, inappropriate images and locations on for all to see!
4. What’s the best way to help kids stay safe on Instagram?
As with all social media, being respectful of ourselves and others makes us safer. Our posts and comments reflect on us and others in our photos and videos. Whether serious or silly, they become part of our public image. Respecting others in how media is shared, tagged and commented on reduces risk. While most kids are smart about this, it doesn’t hurt for parents to be sure kids aren’t posting provocative images or having inappropriate interactions with people they don’t know, which leads to the next question…
5. Should my child’s profile be private?
For many kids, part of the fun of Instagram is developing a big following – a good thing for parents and kids to talk about. Having a public account on Instagram means anyone can follow you. A private account means that you have to approve anyone who wants to follow you, so many parents have their kids start using Instagram with a private account. Which they can switch off again! But there’s no guarantee your child won’t be seen on Instagram or any other photo-sharing service, because people post photos of each other. Even not having an Instagram account can’t ensure a child won’t appear in a photo there. How positive or negative a young person’s experience is on Instagram or anywhere online depends as much on the person and his or her friends as on the app. New research from the British Psychological Society shows our 24/7 social media culture is causing depression, anxiety and sleeplessness in teenagers.
One report by the Royal Society for Public Health in the UK surveyed 1500 young people, ages 14 to 24, to determine the effects of social media use on issues such as anxiety, depression, self-esteem, and body image. Their findings show that YouTube had the most positive impact, while Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and SnapChat all had negative effects on mental health. @ www.psycom.net/depression-teens-social-media
How do I report a child under the age of 13 on Instagram?
Instagram requires everyone to be at least 13 years old before they can create an account (in some jurisdictions, this age limit may be higher). If your child is younger than 13 and created an account on Instagram, you can show them how to delete their account.
Online images – Ofcom
“Research launched to mark the event reveals that the vast majority (84%) of 8-17 year-olds have shared a photo online. Many are using the power of image to make a difference, with 4 in 5 young people (80%) admitting they’ve been inspired to take positive action by an online image or video.
However, not all their experiences are positive. More than 1 in 5 (22%) have been bullied with images or videos online and 70% have seen images and videos not suitable for their age. Almost half (45%) of 13-17-year-olds have also seen nude or nearly nude photos of someone they know being shared around their school or local community.”
Please check their phones ASAP and talk to your children about the dangers.
The law’s there to keep children safe. So that films are suitable for their age. So they can’t just walk into sex shops. And toys are made with their safety in mind.
But the law doesn’t give children the same protection online.
Right now, the government is working on new digital laws. Join us to demand: https://www.nspcc.org.uk/preventing-abuse/keeping-children-safe/online-safety/talking-your-child-staying-safe-online/