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Social media guidance 

What do you know about the most popular sites used by our children?

Gone are the days of Facebook as a one-stop-shop for all social-networking needs.  Recent reports go back and forth on teens' (and pre-teens) favourite digital hangout.  The fact is that these days, children are diversifying; dividing their attention among an array of apps and sites that let them write, share, chat, and meet new friends.

 Knowing the basics of all the current “in” sites/apps such as what they are, why they're popular, and what problems can crop up when they're not used responsibly - can make the difference between a positive and a negative experience for your child.

 After speaking with children in Years 5 and 6 it would appear that the five current most-used apps are: 

Instagram Snapchat Oovoo Skype What'sApp


Instagram lets users snap, edit, and share photos and 15-second videos, either publicly or with a private network of followers. It also lets you apply fun filters and effects to your photos, making them look high quality and artistic.

What parents need to know:

  • Children are on the lookout for "likes." Similar to the way they use Facebook, children may measure the "success" of their photos - even their self-worth (worryingly) by the number of likes or comments they receive.
  • Public photos are the default. Photos and videos shared on Instagram are public unless privacy settings are adjusted.
  • Private messaging is now an option. Instagram Direct allows users to send "private messages" to up to 15 mutual friends. These pictures don't show up on their public feeds. Although there's nothing wrong with group chats, children may be more likely to share inappropriate stuff with their inner circles.



SNAPCHAT….is a messaging app that lets users put a time limit on the pictures and videos they send before they disappear. Most teens use the app to share silly or embarrassing photos without the risk of them going public. However, there are lots of opportunities to use it in other ways.

What parents need to know:

  • It's a myth that Snapchats go away forever. Data is data! Whenever an image is sent, it never truly goes away.  Snapchats can even be recovered.
  • It can make sending inappropriate images/messages seem OK. The seemingly risk-free messaging might actually encourage users to share pictures which they know they shouldn’t (or could even be illegal).


Oovoo is a free video, voice, and messaging app.    Users can have group chats with up to 12 people for free - and it's common for children to log on after school and keep it open while doing homework.   

What parents need to know:

  • the default setting is public so you can talk to people you don't know, but they can be changed so that you can just talk to your friends
  • The main safety issues are around the content of the discussion and the ability to talk with strangers



What’sApp users send text messages, audio messages, videos, and photos to one or many people with no message limits or fees.

What parents need to know:

  • It's for users 16 and over. Lots of children seem to be using the app, but this age minimum has been set by WhatsApp.
  • It can be pushy. After you sign up, it automatically connects you to all the people in your address book who also are using WhatsApp. It also encourages you to add friends who haven't signed up yet.


SKYPE is a computer programme and app, which lets you make audio and video calls to other users around the world.   You can also send instant messages.

 What parents need to know:

It can be difficult to adjust the privacy settings

  • It’s difficult to work out how to report or block
  • Information on keeping safe online isn’t prominent on the site.


Keep talking to your child about what they are doing and who they are talking to online.

If you have any concerns please do not hesitate to come to school to speak to us!

Don’t forget the CEOP button on our website is an excellent source of information!