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Social media dos and don’ts for parents

<span>‘Privacy issues are certainly valid, but we found that children who had good, trusting relationships with their parents were generally happy with their parent’s posting.’</span><span>Photograph: Alamy</span>
‘Privacy issues are certainly valid, but we found that children who had good, trusting relationships with their parents were generally happy with their parent’s posting.’Photograph: Alamy

We were interested to read Hannah Nwoko’s article (I regularly shared photos of my son on social media. Then alarm bells started ringing, 26 February). From our joint research, we’ve found that it is often the case that children and young people enjoy their parents’ social media posts because it can be a marker of parental care and pride. But these decisions to post or not to post have to involve the children.

Privacy issues are certainly valid, but we found that children who had good, trusting relationships with their parents were generally happy with their parents’ posts as long as permission was agreed. Interestingly, embarrassing photos of them as a small child were fine with the young people. But they were much less comfortable with recent photos. The platforms used also made a difference – a changeover that usually happened when the young people went through a transitional moment, such as starting secondary school. Posts on Facebook and WhatsApp were more acceptable. Facebook because, as the young people said, it is “for old people”, and WhatsApp because it’s usually only seen by family and adult friends. Instagram was off limits, however, and there was general agreement that you should not be on Snapchat.
Prof Rose Capdevila and Prof Lisa Lazard
The Open University

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