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Social media has many benefits that must be balanced with the risks it presents. Risks to be aware of include:

  • Screening for harmful content on websites and apps varies widely.
  • Content posted can be incorrect, harmful, or hurtful.
  • Apps and platforms can be used to share harmful or adult content.
  • Apps and platforms can include users of all ages and allow children to connect with adults.
  • Apps and platforms can have no moderator for chats, groups, and forums that allow all types of content to be posted or shared.
  • Apps and platforms can allow all types of content to be posted or shared.
  • Privacy controls over who can view or access posted material vary across apps, and many users are not aware of how to use them effectively.
  • Apps that allow for real-time user videos “live streaming” can been used to show bullying, violence, suicide, and harmful acts as they are happening.
  • Some apps that include location information can be used to get personal information, such as someone’s age, current location, or where someone lives.
  • Apps that support telephone calls do not show up on a call log, so parents may not know who their children are talking to.

Parents can search online for organizations that provide in-depth parental reviews of apps, platforms and games used by children to learn more about them. By learning about the risks, important security features, and other details about the apps, platforms, and games children want to use, parents can make an informed decision about how or if their child will use them.