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The Challenges of Navigating Social Media Use: Helpful Resources

You will no doubt be aware that the impact of social media has been under intense scrutiny of late, with a growing body of evidence linking its use to increased risk of poor mental health amongst children and young people. There have been calls to raise the minimum user age to 16, recognising the need to shield our younger population until they are better equipped to navigate both the perils and the potential of digital connections.

Social media platforms present some significant risks during impressionable years. The prevalence of misogynistic content, often subtly embedded in memes, videos, and comments, can reinforce harmful stereotypes, normalise disrespect and distort perceptions of healthy relationships. More broadly, trolling, cyber bullying and hate speech are unfortunate realities of online platforms, with harmful views and tropes easily working their way into feeds and reels. Perhaps more subtly, pervasive images and narratives of ‘ideal’ lifestyles and appearances can set unrealistic standards and erode self-esteem.

Despite these concerns, there is also research to suggest that moderate and careful social media use can have benefits. Mindful and proactive engagement online can promote a sense of belonging for young people, facilitating identity development. It also offers opportunities for positive influence, personal expression and social support – particularly for those in marginalised groups.

It can be difficult to reconcile the risks and benefits. As parents and educators, it is essential to equip our young people with critical thinking skills and a strong moral framework that enables them to navigate social media responsibly and to safeguard their own wellbeing. Encouraging open conversations about the content they encounter can help them discern and reject harmful messages and embrace inclusivity and respect.

As young people find their way in the world, we know that the decision about when to allow social media – and which platforms – is personal to each family. We have curated a collection of recommended resources for parents on the Technology at Home tile on Keystone. Below are some highlighted resources focused on social media that can go some way to supporting parents to stay in touch with and on top of what their children are doing online:


  • · provides The eSafety Guide which outlines key information about various apps and sites, including social media
  • ThinkUKnow offers their Social Media Starter Kit as a guide to managing your teenager’s introduction to social media
  • Instagram provides Supervision, a set of tools that allow parents to support their teenagers to manage their time appropriately on the platform
  • TikTok offers Family Pairing– a facility to link parent and teen accounts that offers a range of content, privacy and wellbeing settings
  • Snapchat has Family Center– a tool that lets you view their connections, who they’ve messaged, restrict sensitive content and report abuse
  • Discord also offers their own Family Center, which allows you to see recently added friends, users who have been messaged or called, servers joined or participated in- and you’ll receive a weekly summary of activity via email
  • YouTube offers Parental Controls via supervised Google accounts, with the ability to adjust content settings, block channels, adjust time limits, switch off autoplay and remind users to take a break

Angela Norman
Head of Digital Innovation and Integration