Social media is an integral part of our lives and that of our young people. While it has many benefits, including keeping in touch with friends and family, staying up-to-date on current events, and even accessing educational resources, it can also have its drawbacks, particularly when it comes to our children.

Some of the most popular platforms among teenagers include Instagram, Snapchat, TikTok, and YouTube. Each platform has its own unique features and risks, so it’s important to understand how they work and what kind of content is shared on each platform. The eSafety Commissioner has put together THIS GUIDE to understand the different types of social media widely used by young people.

Additionally, new social media platforms are constantly emerging, so it’s important to stay up to date on the latest trends and monitor young person’s use of these platforms. By understanding the types of social media they are using, we can all have more informed conversations about the risks and benefits associated with each platform.

As parents and educators, it’s important to understand that young peoples’ online behaviour can have a significant impact on their lives. It’s not just about the content they create or share, or the people they interact with online, but also about the way they perceive themselves and the world around them. In the last week, we have had discussions with students about generating ‘content’ on school grounds, in school uniform, and at the expense of their learning time. Students speak to us about not being able to focus on other things because they are thinking about how to constantly generate new content to stay relevant and gain followers.

So, what can you do to help your young person navigate social media in a healthy, respectful, and safe way? Here are a few tips:

Start the conversation early: Don’t wait until your young person is of age to have a social media account to start talking about it. Be informed about the different apps out there and start having conversations about social media and its impact on our lives early on. This can help them understand the risks and benefits associated with it.

Set boundaries: Establish clear rules about what your young person can and cannot do online. This includes things like the amount of time they can spend on social media, who they can interact with, and what type of content they can share.

Monitor their online activity: Whilst we want to trust our young people, it’s important to keep an eye on their online activity. This can help you identify any potential risks or issues early on.

Be a role model: Our young people look up to us as adults, so it is important that we are good role models when it comes to social media use. This includes things like not oversharing online, being respectful to others, and being mindful of the content you consume and share.

Encourage open communication: Make sure your young person knows they can come to you with any questions or concerns they have about social media. Encourage open communication and be willing to listen to their perspective.

In the same vein of open communication with your young people, I do encourage you to reach out to the school if you have any concerns so that we can work together in partnership to support our students. Over the coming weeks, I will be providing more information in KnoxMail about specific apps and some information that may be of use.

Mr Phillip Henniker
Head of Senior School and Student Wellbeing