Social media can be a fun way to connect with people and be entertained, but it's really important to stay safe online.

There are many types of social media, which can all be used for different things. Some of the most popular social media platforms include TikTok, Snapchat, Instagram and YouTube, but there are lots more.

You can use social media to keep in touch with friends and family, meet new people, watch videos and play games. 

Social media can be fun, but dangerous or upsetting things can happen online sometimes. Here are some common things that can go wrong:  


This is when someone gets access to your account without your permission and sees your private information. Don't share your password with anybody, and make sure it's a strong one.

Illegal and offensive content

This is something you see online that feels dark or dodgy.

Online bullying

This is when someone is mean online.


This means posting something offensive or controversial to cause upset, get attention, or start an argument.


This is when someone pretends to be someone else online. They could be lying about their identity, name, age and where they live.


Beware of what you share privately as anything you send could be shared publicly and be used to blackmail you into sending money or doing something sexual.


This is when someone shares nudes or sexual images or videos to get revenge on an ex. This is illegal.


This is when someone tricks someone into buying something thinking they are getting a bargain. If the price is too good to be true, it’s probably a scam. Scammers are out to steal your data or your money, so beware of clicking any links.

Feeling pressure

Social media can give the impression that some people are flawless and living their best life. This can put pressure on you or make you feel bad about yourself. Remember that you only get to see the highlights. Real life isn’t always perfect. Don’t be fooled by the filter, stay true to yourself online.

The best way to avoid the things that can go wrong on social media is to make sure you’re staying as safe as possible. These tips will help you keep your account secure:  

  • Set accounts to private and share content with friends and followers only.

  • Create a strong password using three random words. Some sites also ask for numbers, symbols and a mixture of upper-case or lower-case letters so include some of these too. Never share your login details with anybody; if you think someone knows it, change it.

  • This means signing in with more than just your login details. After you’ve logged in, you might get a code sent to your phone or use fingerprint or face recognition. Even if someone has your password, they won’t be able to log in.

Before posting, it might be helpful sometimes to picture yourself saying it to your parents/carers, your teacher, your next-door neighbour, or a stranger in the street. Would you share it then? Be smart so you can have fun safely.

  • Regularly look through your friends or followers to make sure that they are people you know and trust and want to share your online life with. The best way of keeping safe is to delete people that you don’t know.

  • If you’re creating content and don’t want your account to be private, make sure you’re careful about the personal information you share.

  • Do you really know if this person is who they say they are? If you decide to go, tell someone who you are meeting and where you are going. Always go with someone else (preferably a trusted adult).

  • Talk honestly and openly about how you use social media. It could make it easier to get help from an adult if something goes wrong.

  • Don’t share your full name, date of birth, phone number or address online. Be careful about showing your school uniform or creating public usernames with personal information in it.

  • Don’t share where you are every time you post something, especially places where you are often, like home or school. If you do want to share that you’ve been somewhere, the safest thing is to post after you’ve left.

  • Most social media accounts are for people aged 13 and over, but some are younger or older. Age restrictions are there for your safety. If they find out that you’re lying about your age, they could close your account or ban you.

  • Conversations can sometimes get flirty online. Find out more on keeping yourself safe on our ‘Sharing nudes’ page.

You can control what you choose to see online. If you don’t like something, try one of these steps:

  • If you see something you don’t like on social media that makes you feel scared, unsafe or upset, report it. You’ll usually be asked to give a reason why you’ve reported it.

  • If you don’t feel comfortable with someone, whether this is a friend or a stranger, then block them. They won’t be able to contact you through that social media platform, and you won’t be able to see what they share.

  • On certain pages or groups, there are moderators to make sure people keep to the group rules and to keep people safe. If someone is breaking the rules, report them to the moderators.

It’s easy to fall into the trap of spending hours on social media watching videos, playing games and chatting. Spending too much time online can affect your private life, school work and your sleep. Try some of these tips.

Set time limits  

To avoid spending all your time on social media, setting a time limit on your devices might be a good idea.   

Turn off notifications  

Being sent notifications about someone’s new post can make you click on the app to check it out and end in you spending lots of time online. Turn off these notifications using your device settings.   


Talk to someone – even when you've taken all the steps you can to keep yourself safe, sometimes things can go wrong. If you need help, talk to an adult you trust, like family members, teachers, or youth workers. If you’re worried about starting a conversation with an adult, here are some tips.

  • Meic - free and confidential helpline for children and young people in Wales with advisers to help you find the support you need. Call 080880 23456, text 84001, or chat online 
  • Childline - free, private, and confidential helpline for children and young people in the UK where you can talk about anything. Call 0800 1111  
  • App guides for families – information on the most popular apps, social media platforms and games, including how to block and report content
  • Internet Matters - step-by-step guides to privacy settings on social media, live streaming, and gaming apps 

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