Cumbria’s Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC), Peter McCall, is urging parents to check what their children and viewing and sharing online in support of Get Safe Online’s August campaign ‘Your Child and Social Media’. The aim of the campaign is to help children remain true to who they are when online and warn parents of the possible consequences around negative comments online and how this can affect young people’s mental health. The PCC funds Get Safe Online in Cumbria.
Tips on how to support your children and stay informed as a parent include:
- Talk to your child about the importance of social media – listen to their experiences, why social media is so important to them and remain non-judgmental. Remember most children have never experienced a world without social media.
- Explain to your child how important it is to be themselves and not a glorified version of who they are, staying true to who they are is key to mental health.
- Remind your child to think before they post – past posts can affect a person’s future.
- Suggest a social media break – it can be a great opportunity to see past the screen and connect with friends face-to-face again, especially after a pandemic.
- Practice what you preach – most parents have their children as friends on their social media, remember that you set the example of what should and shouldn’t be shared online and minimise use around your child.
Cumbria’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Peter McCall, said: “We all know our children live their lives on social media and as parents it is our duty to make sure they are safe when they are online.
“Social media is a great tool for communicating, staying in touch and even learning but it does have a dark side.
“It can become addictive, especially in terms of receiving validation and comparing our lives to that of others.
“I would urge parents to speak to their children about the dangers of exaggerating, lying or sharing personal information online – as parents we set the best examples for our children so it is essential we set rules and boundaries around social media.
“Everyone has the responsibility to make sure their posts are appropriate; they stay true to who they are and remember that taking a break from social media can be a great relief for our mental wellbeing.
“For more tips on how to stay safe online, visit www.getsafeonline.org.”
Tony Neate, CEO at Get Safe Online comments: “While many believe that kids shouldn’t be on social media at all, it’s possible for children to be involved in a safe and responsible manner.
“But it’s up to parents to show them how.
“With kids on summer holiday, this month’s campaign is both timely and relevant to reflect on how our kids use social media and how best to guide them as they post, like and scroll through this summer.”