Social media and teenagers

White curve
Ten top tips for a digitally healthy household

The digital world doesn’t have to be daunting. It’s perfectly possible for young people and parents alike to have a great relationship with the internet and social media.

Find the approach that works best for you by keeping these top tips in mind.

1. Remember: the younger the child, the more support they’ll need

As adults, we’ve grown up without the internet. We remember a time before 24/7 connection and instant access to information. For children - and young children, especially - this world is all they will ever know. They need our guidance to sail the digital seas. Set clear boundaries that work for all. Be open and communicate together about what is safe to do online. Share in online experiences as a family wherever possible.

2. Be aware that extra support may be needed at certain ages

Key milestones in a child’s development, such as between ages 10-13, require extra time and attention. These are times when young people are practicing heightened independence and finding their place in the world, and the digital space will seem very appealing. This is exactly when more parental guidance and time is needed, not less.

3. Find non-technological activities for children to enjoy

Like all things, technology should be enjoyed in moderation and with limits. Speak with your child and explore areas that really interest them in the digital world - and then find ways to enjoy these in the offline world. From arts and crafts to sports to practical hobbies, take steps to make the real world every bit as enticing as the digital space.

4. Stay alert for any signs of inappropriate use of the digital world

The internet provides many opportunities for young people, but be mindful of the dangers. Be transparent with your child; make sure that you know what information and platforms they are accessing and who they are spending time with online. Stay attuned to the risks and regularly check in on online activity in an open way.

5. Switch devices off at night and half an hour before bedtime

Disconnecting is one of the greatest challenges posed by technology - yet the scientific benefits of a good night’s sleep have been proven time and again. Teenagers, especially, need more sleep than adults, so establish healthy sleep routines and leave technology outside the bedroom at night, where it belongs.

6. Work out some rules together…

Every family is different. As individuals, we all need different things to thrive. Speak openly with your children and create boundaries that are unique to your situation - digital guidelines to allow you all to live mindfully and productively online and offline.

7. …and then respect the rules yourself!

This is the big one. It’s essential that you, as the parent and adult, are a digital role model and show your children how to use technology for good. Demonstrate that you are in control of your devices by switching off, practicing good sleep routines, being intentional and putting family time first.

8. Be aware of the positives as well as the negatives

We all know about the dangers posed by the digital world, especially to children. These are very important to recognise, but don’t lose sight of what incredible opportunities social media - and the internet at large - offers to young people. Embrace the positives by closely following your family’s digital strategy.

9. Have a regular family digital detox

Carving out tech-free time, weekly or even daily, can have huge benefits. Just the presence of technological devices in a room can change how we think, behave and relax with others. Take clear breaks from technology to reconnect with one another, without the pressure of ‘likes’ or sharing every moment with online connections.

10. Aim for ‘digital resilience’

Too many adults think about the digital world as a threat. Yet that’s not how it’s seen by young people. It is the responsibility of adults, both parents and professionals, to help children learn the skills they need to navigate the online world safely. Regularly ask your child how being online makes them feel. If the digital world is generating negative emotions, then it’s time to work together to find a better way of experiencing life online. Digital resilience is built through honest conversations between young people and caring adults.

Resources

Resource

An emotionally healthy approach to GCSEs - A guide for parents

Packed with practical tips and ideas to support young people before, during and after exam time.

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Resource

An emotionally healthy approach to GCSEs - A guide for teachers

Packed with practical tips and ideas to support young people before, during and after exam time.

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Resource

Asking for help (adult)

When it’s time to talk about your mental health.

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Resource

Asking for help (young person)

A simple guide for young people to help talk about their feelings.

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Resource

Depression booklet

Featuring useful facts, figures and information, this booklet also contains sources of help and what not to say to people experiencing depression

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Resource

Guide to depression for parents and carers

This booklet aims to help recognise and understand depression and how to get appropriate help for their child

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Resource

Guide to depression for parents and carers (Welsh)

This booklet aims to help parents recognise and understand depression and how to get appropriate help for their child

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Resource

Life after lockdown Wellbeing Action Plan

During the coronavirus pandemic, we have all been through enormous change and some of us may experience further uncertainty and change in the coming weeks and months

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Resource

Looking after yourself during your GCSEs - A guide for pupils

Packed with practical tips and ideas to support young people before, during and after exam time.

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Resource

Low mood poster

Poster created in partnership with Bank Workers Charity highlighting common causes of low mood, how to help yourself feel better and information on where to get more help.

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Resource

Perfectionism

Aiming high can sometimes come at a cost. This eight page guide looks at ‘unhealthy perfectionism’ – how to spot it and advice on how to develop effective interventions.

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Resource

Social media and teenagers

A practical guide for parents and carers of teenagers on using social media

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Resource

Warning signs poster

A bold A3 poster showing the warning signs that tell you when someone may be depressed. This poster could save a life.

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Resource

Wellbeing Action Plan (child)

A simple, resource to help young people keep themselves well and get them through difficult times

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Resource

Wellbeing Activities

Activity sheets on the five ways to wellbeing.

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Resource

Wellbeing Journal

A simple, journal to help young people think about and write down the things which make them feel good.

View resource

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