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Joining social media

If you're wondering whether to join social media for the first time and start connecting with people, there are some things you might want to consider.

There are many benefits to using social media:

  • Making new friends
  • Sharing life updates with family and friends
  • Finding content that makes you laugh
  • Learning more about the world we live in

It’s important to understand that there can also be negative aspects to social media.

You shouldn't feel any pressure to join social media. If you don't feel ready, there are plenty of other ways you can stay in touch with your friends and family, and meet new people.

Whatever your decision, we’ve got some tips to support you.

Preparing to join social media

Things to consider before you create an account:

  • Get ready for a lot of content. Social media lets people post all kinds of content, which can be accessed by anyone. This means that you could come across content you don’t want to see. This can be quite upsetting or make you feel uncomfortable.
  • Know the negatives. Just as social networking can be used to connect with your friends, you may come across some people that aren’t very nice. They can make horrible comments or share nasty things. Some people even set up fake profiles to pretend to be someone they aren’t. It’s important to look out for these so you can stay safer online.
  • Is this the right app for you? Most apps require you to be 13 or older to use. Some apps like WhatsApp require you to be even older, so make sure you check this before signing up.
  • Digital footprint. Anything you post online leaves a trail of information. This is your digital footprint and it can be difficult to delete. Anything you post could even be shared, copied or edited without your knowledge.
  • Managing your privacy. The more information you post online, the more people will find out about you. Make sure that you don’t give out any personal information that could identify you or your location, or that you don’t want others to see.

Top tips for using social media

If you have decided to create an account, remember to: 

  1. Get help when you need it. If someone on social media makes you feel worried or uncomfortable, speak to an adult you trust or a support service.
  2. Be respectful and responsible. Don’t share any offensive content and remember to respect each other’s differences.
  3. Think about what you post. Remember that once you post content, it is out there and you may not be able to delete it.
  4. Change your privacy settings. Read our advice on using privacy settings to protect the information you share
  5. Know how to block and report. If someone makes you feel uncomfortable, you can block or report them so they can’t do it again.
  6. Be yourself. You don’t have to pretend to be someone else when you are online. It’s a great place to meet other people that enjoy the same things that you do. So most importantly, be you!
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