It is no secret that social media usage can have a detrimental impact on children and young people’s mental health. Data has proven that it can result in issues with anxiety, depression, body image concerns, self-harm, substance abuse and, as we’ve seen in recent news articles, even death.
Increase in internet and social media use by age:
|5-7 year olds
|8-11 year olds
|12-15 year olds
|5% have a smartphone
|35% have a smartphone
|83% have a smartphone
|67% go online for nearly 9.5 hours a week
|93% go online for nearly 12.5 hours a week
|99% go online for nearly 20.5 hours a week
|4% have a social media account
|18% have a social media account
|69% have a social media account
Whilst we can’t completely control the way that young people use social media, we can
educate them on safe social media use and teach them how to raise concerns with an
adult when needed. What does healthy social media usage look like?
Safe social media use for young people includes:
By communicating the issues around healthy and unhealthy social media use with
young people, we can help to prevent potential safeguarding issues that could put that
young person in danger.
What should you do if a young person tells you about a safeguarding issue
they’re facing on social media?:
If a child in your care tells you about a safeguarding issue related to their social media usage, then it is imperative that it gets logged as part of their safeguarding support record.
Ask them for as much information as they can provide, and encourage them to take screenshots so that they have clear evidence that they can show to the appropriate people. Log times, dates, and anything else that seems prevalent. Assure the person that they have done nothing wrong, and encourage them to have a break from their screens whilst they process what has happened.
What to ask a child who is engaged in dangerous social media usage:
If you are concerned about the social media usage of children in your care, and would like to learn more about how CURA can help you log safeguarding issues surrounding online safety, do get in touch here.