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Teenagers & Social Media

(6 Posts)
lukeshep Sun 24-Apr-16 20:20:53

Hi All,

I'm a new member wanting a bit of feedback from parents if possible?
I am a professionally qualified youth & community worker who has over the last ten years has worked in youth services, education and children's social care.

You will not be surprised to hear that over the last five years or so one of the main issues that I have had to deal with is young people and e-safety, in particular their use of social media.

Through my work I have dealt with a range of social media issues with young people including online grooming, online bullying and the sharing of inappropriate images.

For me, young people navigating and using social media safely is the biggest challenge that parents and children face in today's society. Although education is provided through schools and there are also numerous resources available online, you only need to ask any teacher at a secondary school to find that social media is causing huge problems not only for schools and can often have devastating effects on the emotional wellbeing of young people.

I am considering offering a (part-time evenings and weekends) in-home service within my local area for parents, providing in-depth, personalised advice and guidance on social media use and also undertake a safety check on their children's current online accounts. This could be for either a parent who wants advice on what they can do to reduce risks, but also for a child providing them with knowledge on how they can use social media safely, protect themselves from harm and also reduce the risk of making a mistake online that can have serious repercussions for them. I would be particularly keen to provide this service to parents of 12/13 year olds who are perhaps taking their first steps into social media, helping to set up accounts and making sure they are fully equipped to spot any warning signs and what things they should avoid posting, sharing or messaging.

I would really appreciate any feedback on this idea and in particular what people think about:

a) Current social media/e-safety advice and guidance that is currently available either online and in schools. Generally speaking do people think this is sufficient and meeting parent's and young people's needs?
b) Whether parents would be willing to pay for a in-home service either for themselves or their children?

Any thoughts, comments or feedback is most welcome!

Thanks in advance.


ConcernedMum2k16 Thu 28-Apr-16 05:36:16

Message deleted by MNHQ. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.

louiseaaa Thu 28-Apr-16 14:20:44

Personally I don't think there is enough info out there <caveat I work in a college as a student support officer and a lot of my case load relates to inapropriate social media use>

As the mother of two teen boys, we manage internet safety by having open and honest discussions. Top Tip - we accidentally explained at the dinner table how porn was unrealistic and how it was unduly influencing young adult behavior and that there were unrealistic expectations around sex as a result. This was me and a friend (a support worker in a senior school) Afterwards I thanked her from sparing me that conversation. She kept apologising... but I was genuinely thankful.

I think of more use would be a teen AND parent workshop. Some parts could be delivered seperately and some in parent/teen groupwork. We've trialled this (I also have some youth work experience) It worked, (ie was attended and informative for paren/teens according to the evaluation sheets which were anonymous) but only with comitted parents, in fact I guess if you did run a service like this you would have a similar cohort.

I wouldn't personally ever do what you are proposing with my teens. It would undermine their trust in me and I'm wary of that. I want a parental relationship with them where they feel they can come to me to discuss things, rather than hide them if they were worried.


soundofthenightingale Fri 29-Apr-16 10:11:37

Yes, I think this is a problem. I have friends whose boys aged 11, 12 have accessed online porn that has been so awful it made them cry! FGS.

The parents in these cases were lovely parents, but they didn't seem to understand the importance of blocking these kinds of sites, or how to go about it. I was really surprised at the time that families don't have such security, but I am guessing its fairly common.

At our school the school did hold a meeting in Y7 for parents about the dangers of the internet (sex, bullying, privacy and so on) and it was fairly well attended. But, according to the speakers, that was fairly unusual. Most parents at most schools don't attend these (free) meetings. It was given by the Police actually, so presumably funded from local government in that way.

So, in answer to your questions, I don't think there is enough information and its worth remembering that not all parents are computer-literate and to be honest its been a struggle for me to manage it. Even last night I spent an hour trying to put parental controls on TV over the stuff thats feely available on 'adult channels' on my basic freeview TV after 11 p.m. I do think schools and community could do more, yes, as very little is sent out to parents to make them more clued-up. Perhaps some parents would be prepared to pay for this, I don't know ....

Orac Fri 29-Apr-16 11:09:38

I would have thought most parents of 12/13 year olds could manage social media use themselves if they wanted. Schools put on free courses for parents which have very low take up. Can't see anyone paying for it TBH.

SarahVineTory Fri 29-Apr-16 11:13:27

The best thing you can do is have a good relationship with your child and encourage them to not be little rebels or compliant robots.

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