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Social Media

Is your child ready?

The age of your child as well as their developmental stage and maturity can affect their ability to have a safe and positive experience of social media. Minimum age requirements: Most of the popular social media services require users to be at least 13 years of age before they can register, although some sites are created especially for children under 13 (see Internet Matters’ Social networks made for children).  The age requirements are there because of data protection laws. Online services are not allowed to collect or store children’s personal information if they are under the age of 13. Data protection laws also say that only children aged 13 and over can sign up to online services without parental permission.  Following the age restrictions sets a good example for your child. Although the age requirement doesn’t always mean the site is inappropriate for children to use, it’s a good indication, especially for younger children.

[extract from Think You Know "Is Your Child Ready for Social Media?"]

Guide to social media

from Think You Know
Children love to socialise and as they get older, they will want to stay in touch with family and friends online.

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Think You Know

Spotlight on Tik Tok

Age Restriction 12+

TikTok is a video-sharing social media app available on iOS and Android which lets users create, share, and view user created videos much in a similar manner to Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat. It’s main draw, however, is that users can record and upload bite-sized looping videos of themselves lip-syncing and dancing to popular music or soundbites, often for comedic effect. 

This leaflet - below - from National Online Safety explains what parents need to know about Tik Tok to help their child stay safe and behave responsibly online.

Spotlight on Discord 

Age Restriction 13+  However: '17+' on Apple Store and 'Teen' rated in Google Play because of some content and nature of communication.

With over 14 million daily users, Discord is one of the most popular communication tools for gamers. It allows you to create or join what are known as ‘servers’, where different users can talk in groups via text message or voice call. There is also the option to send direct messages and make video calls. Discord is unregulated, contains adult content with most 'conversations' being private, so it’s less open and visible than other social networks. 

This leaflet - below - from National Online Safety explains what parents need to know about the risks associated with Discord and practical information on using it safely including privacy and security settings to employ.

Spotlight on WhatsApp

Age Restriction 16+

WhatsApp is the world’s most popular messaging service, with around two billion users exchanging texts, photos, videos and documents, and making voice and video calls. In the NOS guide (below), you'll find tips on a number of potential risks such as stranger danger, live location sharing and disappearing messages.

National Online Safety Guides