When children turn 13, the law permits them to open accounts on many social media channels, but we must stop and think about whether our children are ready to use this technology and mature enough to cope with its downsides.
We might ask ourselves:
- Do my children understand that some people behave differently or badly online? And do they know what to do if something upsets them - such as muting, blocking or reporting, and telling a trusted adult?
- Do my children have the skills to protect their privacy, such as keeping their address, phone number, school and password a secret, and only chatting online with people they know face-to-face?
- Does our family have clear rules about tech use? For example, are the children likely to stick to a family agreement about not using devices in bedrooms or late at night?
- And, importantly, are my children likely to tell me if something went wrong? You might need to explain clearly that you would want to know if there was a problem, and that you would listen to your children and find a solution that worked for them.