Parental advice on contacting social media sites
It’s so easy for young people to share online, that sometimes they might post something and wish that they hadn’t.
If your child has posted something that they regret onto Facebook, YouTube, Instagram or another site, you should advise them to delete it from their account as quickly as they can.
What if someone else has posted something about your child?
Most websites provide an option for users to report to them to request removal of ‘content’ – such as videos, pictures, comments or profiles – that might be upsetting.
It’s important to know that making a report doesn’t mean the content will definitely be removed.
Facebook calls their rules ‘Community Standards’, YouTube’s rules are called ‘Community Guidelines’ and other sites like Tumblr, Twitter and Instagram have their own sets of rules and ways to report.
You should also make sure your child understands how to report content to the site.
The quickest way of removing content posted by others, is to ask the person who has posted it to take it down - if known to your child.
If your child has been a victim of online bullying and has had a nasty message, picture or video posted about them, you can ask their school for support to help find out who might have posted the content. In addition to your child speaking to you, they may wish to talk to someone outside of the family about what has happened to them and how it made them feel. Let them know that they can always call Childline with any worry, big or small on 0800 11 11.
How to reduce the risk of your child being in an upsetting situation
In order to avoid these sorts of situations in the first place, it’s worth sitting down with your child before they start using any website and reading the terms and conditions to learn what is, and what isn’t, acceptable on the site.
You should check whether your child is old enough to have an account with a particular social media website. Many sites including Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Yubo require users to be 13 years old and will deactivate the accounts of any users suspected to be under this age.
Other tips for increasing your child's online security:
- Set their privacy settings to medium or high. Without updating their privacy settings, anyone can contact them and their profile information is visible.
- Explain to them that they should not share personal information with people you do not know, such as your address, school, parents name, etc
- Children often share their passwords. Know your child’s passwords and discuss that passwords are “secret” words and should not be shared with friends.
- Children sometimes leave themselves signed in at friend’s house on someone else’s mobile device or computer. We suggest that you remind them to always be sure to log out.
- If your child receives an unwanted friend invitation be sure to ignore the request and also block this person from contacting again.