What Can You Do?

You can support your child and help them use their mobile phones responsibly. Visit Family Lives for some excellent tips on how to address the concerns of social networking.

The most effective help can be given by making sure you talk to your child. If possible, discuss the benefits and drawbacks of having a mobile before you buy one.

You might be worried that your child is involved in sexting, that is sending sexually explicit messages, pictures or videos to others. Sexting is a serious activity and involves your child distributing indecent images. There could be severe consequences for the young people involved especially if there are criminal charges.

Some children and young people have been targeted to receive inappropriate pictures and messages. Talk to your child and tell them that if they do receive such messages they should tell you straight away.

If you are worried about the risks associated with GPS (Global Positioning Systems) talk to your child about the dangers and help them change the settings on their mobile phone and on each social networking site. You can protect your child by turning GPS off on their phone. This will disable the GPS location for all purposes except 999. On the privacy settings page of each social network you can restrict who sees the location information. On Facebook for example, you can restrict the feature ‘Places’ to only allow certain people to see your child’s location when they ‘Check in’. You can also turn off the location button in the sharing tool which shares the general location of all your child’s posts.

The following link is a short clip giving advice on what parents can do.


Nothing can beat talking and keeping lines of communication open between you and your child. All children and young people need protection, support and guidance. You will be able to set boundaries for younger children but older children will often want to assert their independence and make their own decisions so it is important that they are aware of the dangers that they could face. Being open and ready to discuss these issues with your child will be beneficial. They will then have the tools to be able to make informed choices and to stay safe whilst using digital media.