8 tips to help parents with children’s social media use


Advice to parents and carers on the use of screens and social media by children and young people has been issued by the UK’s chief medical officers. Here are the guidelines in full:

1. Sleep matters

Getting enough, good quality sleep is very important. Leave phones outside the bedroom when it is bedtime.

2. Sharing sensibly

Talk about sharing photos and information online and how photos and words are sometimes manipulated. Parents and carers should never assume that children are happy for their photos to be shared. For everyone – when in doubt, don’t upload!

Families are advised to leave phones outside at bedtime (Peter Byrne/ PA)
Families are advised to keep phones away from bedtime (Peter Byrne/ PA)

3. Education matters

Make sure you and your children are aware of, and abide by, their school’s policy on screen time.

4. Keep moving!

Everyone should take a break after a couple of hours sitting or lying down using a screen. It’s good to get up and move about a bit. #sitlessmovemore

Children should step away from screens and get moving (Ben Birchall/PA)
Children should step away from screens and get moving (Ben Birchall/ PA)

5. Safety when out and about

Advise children to put their screens away while crossing the road or doing an activity that needs their full attention.

6. Talking helps

Talk with your children about using screens and what they are watching. A change in behaviour can be a sign they are distressed – make sure they know they can always speak to you or another responsible adult if they feel uncomfortable with screen or social media use.

Parents should talk to children about screen use (Peter Byrne/ PA)
Parents should talk to children about screen use (Peter Byrne/ PA)

7. Family time together

Screen-free meal times are a good idea – you can enjoy face-to-face conversation, with adults giving their full attention to children.

8. Use helpful phone features

Some devices and platforms have special features – try using these features to keep track of how much time you (and with their permission, your children) spend looking at screens or on social media.

Chris Price
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