My teenage daughter is obsessed with social media: How do I keep her safe?

23rd Mar 18 | Lifestyle

An online youth magazine founder explains how parents can ensure their children understand the negatives as well as the positives of social media.

Euphoric friends watching videos on a smartphone

My 14-year-old daughter is obsessed with social media, How can I best ‘police’ her activity on there, and keep her as safe as possible?”

Carmen Greco, co-founder with her 12-year-old son Jenk Oz of the online lifestyle magazine for eight to 15-year-olds iCoolKid, says: “Social media is an integral part of the social fabric for today’s kids.

“As parents we must assume that it’s so deeply entrenched in our children’s daily routines that taking it away from them isn’t the solution, and could lead to them feeling like a social outcast.


“Speak to your daughter about the negative nuances surrounding social media, so she gains a deeper understanding of how it all works.

“Kids want positive interactions with friends, but they also crave ‘likes’ and followers, leading them to often allow strangers to follow their profiles.

There’s a lack of understanding about how high engagement doesn’t necessarily result in only receiving positive comments. Therefore, it’s essential you have open, non-judgemental discussions to explain why this is and understand why your daughter has a strong desire to be ‘liked’ – focusing on confidence levels and any peer pressure she may be experiencing.

“As social media continues to evolve, so should the conversations with your daughter, to make sure you’re both educated, open, and aware of the positives and negatives.

“To reinforce this, try to stay on top of social innovations so you understand what your daughter’s talking about. In turn, she’ll feel more inclined to discuss issues with you. Actively encouraging positive, open conversations will allow you to drive a negative instance into a positive resolution.

“Here are my tips: Encourage your daughter to limit her social circle to its intended users – they’re real friends – and cull negative followers on a regular basis, even if it means her number of followers will dip.

“Help her understand the tone and message certain types of photos and posts send out to followers by scrolling through her timeline and discussing or reflecting on what’s posted.


“Supervise the photos she posts and the language she uses, as it may be encouraging unwanted feedback from followers and baiting bad behaviour.

“Follow her on social media across all platforms until she’s 16 to keep up that visibility.

“Enforce that all profiles should be private.

“And educate her to avoid posting photos which show her home address or location, personal information in the background, or features expensive items.”

© Press Association 2018