Parenting in the age of social media can be tricky!

Headspace – A National Youth Mental Health Foundation that provides early intervention and services to young adults informs us that “Australians are amongst the highest users of social media in the world, averaging 22 hours per week per person. And more than 90% of young people aged between 12 and 17 regularly use social media. Add complex issues of mental health related content to the mix and parents may feel like they are ‘up the creek without a paddle’. It’s true social media can pose risks for young people, but it’s not all bad.

Research indicates that social media platforms provide many young people with access to helpful information, support and counseling, in a timely and readily accessible way, which can be helpful for young people. And when it comes to apps such Instagram, young people feel extremely positive about the way it can help them communicate with friends and family. Instagram, and apps like that, also allow young people to express themselves creatively.

Using social media can have good educational outcomes, encourage supportive relationships and promote a sense of belonging and self-esteem. But it can also present risks around the management of personal information and cyber bullying. It’s important for parents to understand the types of social media their children are using, how it works and how it impacts on their lives. They should be open to talking to their young person about what they are seeing on social media and encourage them to talk about how this impacts them.”

Included here is a link to a government funded site designed to educate and support families to engage safely with social media sites that we hope you may find informative and useful.

Office of the Children's eSafety Commissioner