Tweens and Teens in a Digital World: Staying informed

Tweens and Teens in a Digital World: Staying informed

Following on from our previous article we are asking ourselves how much we know about the digital world our teens inhabit. How do DMs and IMs differ? Is it possible for strangers to view my child’s posts? Do gaming platforms function like social media? Navigating the various online spaces where children interact can be complex, but gaining an understanding of their workings will enable us to prioritise our child’s safety.

The starting point is always to engage in conversation with our children regarding the platforms they enjoy the most. Recognize that it’s impractical to possess complete knowledge about all aspects of social media and gaming. Instead, rely on our children as a valuable source of information. When they share their experiences about things they have encountered during gaming or discuss apps their friends use, we need to seize the moment to inquire about the functionalities and mechanics of those specific apps or games. These conversations present a valuable opportunity to keep the discussion enjoyable. Opening a dialogue with our children regarding our own preferred apps and online activities can encourage them to share their own experiences as well, which can be a really informative moment. This can then provide an excellent chance to address topics that they may not find as enjoyable, opening the door for future discussions about potentially uncomfortable situations that may arise. 

The key is to stay connected and maintain ongoing conversations. As apps and games continuously progress, it’s essential to keep up with the changes. If we happen to use similar apps, engaging in discussions about the latest features that excite us or aspects that frustrate us, is a useful conversational hook. By incorporating discussions about platforms into our regular conversations, we establish a sense of normalcy and familiarity. In this way, if any related topics arise, our children will already know that we have a shared understanding and common ground.

Many apps and platforms that are popular among our children, even if they don’t meet the recommended age requirements, offer safety resources designed for parents. These resources provide valuable information ranging from platform introductions to expert advice and crucial references on how to report issues. Even if our children are not currently using a particular app, it’s beneficial to review these resources and bookmark them for future reference so that we may get acquainted with resources that are tailored to specific platforms.

Below are links to some commonly used apps and privacy policies as well as the means for reporting inappropriate or dangerous content.

Click on the headings to access the links.

TikTok TikTok’s Safety Center gives you access to their Guardian Guide and their Safety & Privacy controls. TikTok’s Safety Center also includes guides focused on topics like well-being, bullying prevention, and avoiding scams.

Snapchat’s Reporting Center Learn about Snapchat’s community guidelines and how to report inappropriate content.

WhatsApp Security and Reporting Learn how to stay safe on WhatsApp.

YouTube’s Reporting and Enforcement Center Learn about YouTube’s Reporting and Enforcement Center.

XBox Live Reporting Learn how to report inappropriate behavior or abuse on Xbox Live.

Instagram Visit Instagram’s Safety Center to access their Parent’s Guide and Family Center, and to receive guidance about safety and privacy features.

Facebook Although not used very much by our teens, a visit to the Facebook Family Safety Center for information, tools, and safety resources for parents, teens, and teachers can be helpful.

Tumblr Tumblr’s Community Guidelines provide an outline of what Tumblr is and is not for – and provide explanations of what to do if you encounter a safety or security risk on the site.

Twitter Protect your passwords, encourage critical thinking, understand how to report a violation, and more. Here’s some advice for families starting out on Twitter.


Systemic Head of Counselling               

Systemic Head of Educational Support

SEED Department – Supporting Emotional and Educational Development


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