Being social: learning about (and through) social media

The words 'social media' surrounded by logos of social media sites
High school 12-18 years

It’s increasingly common for teenagers to have social media accounts, so learning how to use these responsibly is an important skill they need to develop. Brush up on your own knowledge and find more resources to help your teen become a socially savvy master of media!

Social media is a pretty broad term that refers to websites and applications that enable people to create and share content, or participate in social networking. The big ones such as Facebook and Instagram are widely known, but did you realise that many teenagers have social media accounts associated with online games, or online learning communities? If your teen has a username and can post comments or chat online, they have a social media account.

Schools are increasingly creating secure online learning communities that enable students to interact with each other and their teachers to discuss topics, work collaboratively and submit assignments. This can be a good way for them to learn the techniques and etiquette of social media, and how to use it responsibly; and to become aware of online issues such as bullying and scams.

Online gaming sites and learning communities are also common places for teenagers to have social media accounts. It’s easy to set these up, so before they fill out an online form that asks for a name or username, make sure you check the privacy policy of the site together and talk about what it means. Have a chat with your teen about choosing safe usernames and passwords and how to keep them secure; and the importance of privacy settings. If your teenager needs assistance with creating an account or setting up the privacy settings, try doing this together.

When your teenager wants to set up a social networking account on one of the main public platforms, use the resources of the Office of the Children’s eSafety Commissioner to get the latest expert advice on how to keep safe, and make sure you discuss it with your teen.

If you are wondering whether you should be their online ‘friend’, the short answer is yes. However this may be difficult with platforms such as game or special interest forums that you may not have an active involvement in. By being your teen’s online friend, you can see what your teen is posting and give them guidance if needed. There’s a great video where leading child and adolescent psychologist, Dr Michael Carr-Gregg, discusses this very issue.

Last modified on Monday 20 February 2017 [49|735]

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