Keeping our children safe on social media

Now, this is a tricky concept … we all know that our teens and younger children are obsessed with social media … hey, us adults are too … but we also know that there is a big dark underworld out there that we need to protect our children from. As they get older, however, it is less easy to have a grip on how safe they really are … and it is definitely less easy to keep asking what they are doing and who they are chatting to if we are to continue to have any degree of a relationship with them.

So, this leads to the issue of how do we keep our pre-teens and teens safe on social media whilst respecting their privacy? This was a question posed by another mummy blogger for me to discuss with Sarah and Jayne, talking therapists from BE Integrative Therapy who specialise in pre-teen and teen behaviour. Sarah and Jayne have been kind enough to join with me to discuss many issues surrounding teen behaviour for my vlogging series so I put this question to them in a further vlog which you can see below. They give some excellent points and things to look for and discuss with our children which can be applied to all ages of children who are on social media.

I’d love for you to take a look, let me know your thoughts and comments and I hope you find it useful.

 

As always, if you have a question you would like me to pose to Sarah and Jayne, please drop me a message and I will let you know when the topic is discussed and when it goes live.

Thank you so much for watching!

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38 thoughts on “Keeping our children safe on social media

  1. Such a tricky one. Also one that I am dreading. When I was a teacher I witnessed so many problems with teens that stemmed from social media. I agree with what the lovely ladies say that it is about ‘communication’. Also the idea for talking at dinner once a week is fantastic and by doing it in the form of a game means that doesn’t feel as personal and therefore everyone is more likely to contribute. #bigpinklink

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    1. Oh thank you for watching and for your comment – I loved the idea of the dinner game and think it is such a useful tool to bring in from an early age about discussing topics at the table on anything just to start getting ideas and values across xx

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  2. Really good point made. I recently came up against some problems with my own kids who are tweens not teens, technology is certainly changing how we parent. I totally agree that it is all about communication. I was so happy my son came to me with his worries/concerns. Great vlog Hun ❤️

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    1. Tha you so much, lovely. I thunk communication is so so key but we have to be in the right frame of mind so not always easy to do! Glad your son was very sensible and came to you. Thank you for your lovely comment and feedback xx

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  3. Helen – another really interesting vlog. Although it is a big subject and 10 minutes or so isn’t much time to cover it – you manage to bring out some really good points and end up giving really effective advice. I love the idea of opening discussion via WhatsAp and just reiterating the whole idea of communication. Thank you. Alison x #bigpinklink

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    1. Thank you so much! It is so hard to get succinct points across when you know the minutes are ticking by at such a speed! Yes, the whatsapp group chat is excellent too – communication key to it all. Thank you for your feedback – so appreciated! xx

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  4. so hard! this is a great video! communication is key. I pride myself on having such an open and honest relationship with my girls, but Im not stupid, Im certain there are things the teen hasn’t told me.. it does worry me massively, probably more my insecurities more than hers, because when I do give her the benefit of the doubt in situations, she surprises me massively with how mature and clever she actually is. Looking for signs is true too… after all we know our kids better than anyone, so we will know when somethings ‘up’. I always jump in with the kids issues/problems far to quickly.. I really must learn to let them try to solve their own problems first. Great vid! #bigpinklink

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    1. Thank you so much. I think you’re so right about having an open relationship with them – we all aim for that and I guess we just need to try the stopping of the knee -jerk reactions – trying times but we can only try our best with the advice from the experts in the back of our minds at all times! Thank you for your lovely comment xx

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  5. This is really interesting. It was starting to be an issue when I was a teenager and has definitely got worse. Communication and awareness are definitely key – when I was 10 or 11 I would go in chat rooms and my parents didn’t even know what they were let alone that I was doing it – it was my older brother who stopped me and tried to make me realise how stupid I was being. So I guess it’s important to keep on top of the latest ‘trends’ and to try and have an open dialogue with your kids about what is and isn’t ok. It’s so tricky. Thank you for sharing this! The game idea and whatsapp group sound excellent. #bigpinklink

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    1. Oh my word that is so scary – but that is the reality of what children could be doing! Well done to your brother. I love the idea of the games and whattsapp too – just gives us tools as parents to better communicate as out children hit those older ages where social media interaction is inevitable. Thank you so so much for your comment xx

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    1. very tricky – communication seems to be a key theme but hard to do if you have a non-communicative teen but hopefully some of the points raised will help some. Thank you for commenting x

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  6. I hope when my daughter comes to that age, that she’ll be responsible when it comes to social media. Communication is definitely something that is required it seems. I want to protect her, but I want to respect her privacy also. #DreamTeam

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    1. Oh I’m sure she will – I thunk it comes from communicating all the way through raising children so that everything is out in the open from the very beginning. Thank you so much for your comment xx

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  7. Very timely for me. We’ve just allowed our son (13) a smart phone and it’s terrifying as it’s the start of letting him approach independence. Our agreement with the phone is that we know his password. I have looked at it periodically and everything is all pretty innocent. Soon his knowledge will far outway mine! It’s about trust both ways and all part of the growing up process

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    1. Oh I remember this stage – it is hard – the hardest being telling them that the world isn’t perhaps as they see it. I think Sarah and Jayne make some good points on keeping an eye out for signs that something isn’t right and dealing with issues on a daily basis so that they don’t become a big drama when something may go wrong. Keeping those lines of communication open are vital. Thank you so much for your comment x

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  8. I’ve personally been privvy to stories about the harm social media and the internet can have on young adults and teens and it broke me heart, but now that I am a parent it worried me so much more. I don’t want Mini to not have access to the internet and all the great things that comes from it, but it’s so very hard to protect her from everything! One of those things that makes me want to go and live in a yurt in the wilderness! Thanks for the video Helen! xx Lucy #triballove

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    1. Those stories are terrifying aren’t they and then when you think it could be your child – shivers! You’re right – the internet is a wonderful thing but it’s about children understanding the dangers – I just hate them having to learn that the world isn’t a fluffy gorgeous place all the time. Oh I agree about the wilderness – see you there! Thank you so much for your lovely comment as always xx

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  9. yeah this is a hard one. My kids love youTube and i do let them watch the silly videos about toys and kinder eggs but i’m also very wary. They are still tiny a the mo so have no clue about social media as a whole but they both love recording videos of themselves dancing in their pants lol I haven’t got a game plan yet and thinking about it fills me with dread but your video was fab! #DreamTeam

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    1. It is tricky! I was very very careful when they were younger about videos they wanted to record and upload but it gets harder as they get older and one of my girls is very much in the public eye so I have less control but she knows the rules and I check comments on her photos and if anything odd I get her to block people constantly – there are some scary people out there! Thank you so much for watching and commenting xx

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  10. Great vlog lovely – I think it’s such a tricky one and the ladies are right that it’s all about balance. But I find it daunting with my stepson who is constantly on YouTube and Instagram that you don’t always know as parents what they are watching. We’ve begun to look at filters that can be put on his phone which I have heard will help a little bit. Such an brilliant topic for a vlog – can’t wait for more! Thanks for linking up with #dreamteam xx

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  11. Oooh this is a challenge isn’t it?! We recently had a talk at our little girl’s school on internet safety. It IS a scarey topic and one that I feel I have limited control over as a parent. I’m inclined to just knock on the door and pop a friendly face round the door regularly to say hi. Then the trust is still there but also an ‘i’m still here’ message, in a looking out for you way, not a ‘do as I say’ way… #MarvMondays

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    1. I love the popping he’d round door too – can tell a lot from their reaction when you do this – we are very clever us mummies at reading vital signs! Thank you for your comment lovely xx

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  12. Hi Helen, this was really interesting and so true. I agree that it is simply impossible to keep a 14+ year old totally safe on the internet without seriously undermining their privacy, their independence and their social life. All of which are vitally important for their development. I think that perhaps the key to this lies much earlier on in their childhood. If we equip them with the skills to spot a ‘dodgy’ situation and the confidence to seek help about something that feels ‘wrong’ it must be a good thing. Also, we need to demonstrate that we are parents that can be approached and can be told things that are a bit shocking without freaking out. Then our kids will feel more confident about sharing things with us do you think? #BloggerClubUK

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    1. You are so right and that was one of the points I wanted to get across on the vlog that hopefully by discussing these issues regularly from a young age then hopefully they will be aware as they hit the teens and the influx of social media floods in! Approachable parenting is key – I guess many of us are doing it but it’s trying to make sure we continue that through all stages of childhood through to teens and beyond. Who ever said parenting was easy?! thank you so much for your lovely thought out comment, as always xx

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  13. Helen
    Your vlogs are such a useful and informative resource for parents of teenagers and those with younger children too (forewarned is forearmed)…I will be popping back when I need to ‘revise’! Or you’ll be getting a ‘Help!’ email from me! I’ve always felt that my kids are a few chapters ahead of me in the parenting handbook.

    My kids are so different. My 13 year old is aware of some of the risks of social media but I think I really need to sit down and check her online interactions a bit more. She isnt on facebook but uses some of the messenger apps but has set them to only allow her friends to see. Although I trust her, I do need to be aware that she may overlook some of the safety settings of these programmes so I must have that conversation with her.

    Helen, have you called The One SHow yet to say you are available!! You three need to have a regular slot on TV!! #DreamTEam

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    1. Oh Jane thank you for your lovely comment. Please feel free to message me anytime. I thunk as long as you keep those lines of communication open you’ll be fine – it does seem to be key in all of this parenting teen malarkey! Thank you for your gorgeous feedback – it means a lot xx

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  14. Lots of great advice here, thanks – I am still in control of what my kids watch online as they are only 5 and 7 but I know that will soon change. I think communication and transparency are key but it’s hard when kids are very likely to want to be left to their own devices (ok, you could call it privacy but I’ve got my over-protective mother hat on!) Thanks again for a fab post – you are a natural at this vlogging malarkey!! x #BloggerClubUK

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    1. Aww thank you so much for your gorgeous feedback – really means a lot! Ha ha to the over-protectiveness – love it! 5 and 7 is a wonderful stage but watch any games where outsiders can start to join in on the game – we has a horrible situation when my boy was 7 where the settings weren’t correct on the game and he was chatting to everyone and anyone – severe lesson learnt! Thank you so much for commenting xx

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  15. I’m back with #BloggerClubUK
    Sharon made some good points in her comments. I thought what she said about us parents not freaking out at things is so true. Your vlogs are really evoking great discussion, keep them up 🙂 Alison x

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  16. Such a great idea for a series! Lots of great advice and information and I completely agree with Sarah and Jayne that communication is absolutely key. Its a challenging time, but lots of practical things you can do to like they say. Thanks for sharing this on #MarvMondays. Emily

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    1. Thank you so much – communication is definitely key to raising children for sure – at all stages – I think we all know this but sometimes find it hard to do! Thank you for your comment x

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