20+ Social Media Safety FAQs

Technology, popular apps, and teen social media trends change so quickly that it can leave parents feeling like they can’t keep up with their students. While there are a bunch of security programs parents can use, nothing is going to protect your students better than YOU. So, we're on a mission to help every adult keep their students safe online.

We created this list of frequently asked questions we receive from parents and educators all over the world.

View any of the videos in our FAQ play list or read the answers below!  

We're adding new questions and answers all the time! If you have a question we haven't answered yet, please don't hesitate to comment your question below and we'll do our best to answer it!

What age should my student get a smartphone?
SmartSocial.com suggests:
Age 0-6: Kid-designed tablets with age-appropriate apps only 
Screen time limits: 15-30 minutes per session
Ages 7-12: If your student needs to communicate with family (co-parenting, etc), consider a non-smartphone/cell watch with only call/text functions Screen time limits: 30-45 minutes per session
Age 13-14: Smartphone with “Green apps” installed 
Screen time limits: 20-60 minutes per session
Age 13-15: Use your student’s projects and passions to build a personal online portfolio/website with parents. Then create posts/videos on the green zone apps as an extension of their personal brand
Age 15-16: Publish the portfolio as a website so it improves your student’s Google results
Age 17: Colleges should be able to find a positive online footprint for your student so they can shine

What type of device should my 0-6 year old kids get?
SmartSocial.com suggests:
Age 0-6: Kid-designed tablets with age-appropriate apps only “Kindle Fire for Kids” or “YouTube Kids” app on iPad
Screen time limits: 15-30 minutes per session
Activate restrictions for time and/or content Native parental control limits in device for specific apps and content
Wifi router control of apps and time limits for internet access
Goal: Start talking about, establishing, and enforcing positive screen time habits

What type of device should my 7-12 year old kids get?
SmartSocial.com suggests:
Ages 7-12: If your student needs to communicate with family (co-parenting, etc), consider a non-smartphone/cell watch with only call/text functions 
Consider an internet-connected personal device like a chromebook/tablet with settings limiting downloads/screen time/accessible websites, etc. using Digital Wellbeing/Family Link/Apple Family SharingScreen time limits: 30-45 minutes per session
Create a cell phone/social media agreement with your kids (we have a free one!)
Activate restrictions for time and/or content on their device
Use Wifi router controls for apps and screen time limits (check out differen options on our Parental Control page)
Goal: Keep a healthy dialogue, talk with your student about their future career/college goals so they have a purpose when navigating social media

What type of device should my 13-17 year old kids get?
SmartSocial.com suggests:
Age 13-14: Go Green: iPhone/Android (with only “green zone apps” installed)
Make sure your students have a purpose with their social media apps so their new device doesn’t become a pastime or a distraction
Screen time limits: 20-60 minutes per session
Age 13-15: Use your student’s projects and passions to build a personal online portfolio/website with parents. Then create posts/videos on the green zone apps as an extension of their personal brand
Age 15-16: Publish the portfolio as a website so it improves your student’s Google results
Age 17: Colleges should be able to find a positive online footprint for your student so they can shine

What age should a student be on social media?
SmartSocial.com suggests:
Ages 0-13: Should not be on social media
Age 9-12: Social media contract listing accounts, login and password information, and family rules for what can be shared and what cannot be shared online
Age 13-15: Build a personal portfolio and start putting positive photos online. Then post on green zone apps as an extension of the student’s personal brand
Age 15-16: Publish the portfolio as a website so it improves your student’s Google results
Age 17: Colleges should be able to find a positive online footprint for your student

How do I get my kids off their devices?
Teach your students how to use their phone with a purpose (instead of as a pastime) by modeling the behavior yourself
Review screen time reports with your kids often and set family goals for when and how to use their devices
Have a central charging station in the house where ALL devices charge overnight - no devices in bedrooms/behind closed doors

How do I know what my kids are doing on their phones? 
Spend time on the same apps your kids are using and follow their accounts
Look at screen time reports on the device often and talk with your student
Make your student the expert and take interest, even if you don't like the app/game or social media
Set up parental controls through Apple Screen Time or Android Digital Wellbeing
Consider creating a social media agreement with your student to outline how they can thrive on their device

How do I find hidden apps on an iPhone?
Open the App Store on your child’s phone
Tap on their picture in the upper right corner
Tap “Purchased”
Tap “My Purchases”
This is where you can access and review every app your student has ever downloaded
Apps they downloaded (and might have deleted) have a cloud icon next to them

How do I find hidden apps on an Android phone?
Open the Google Play Store (on your child’s phone and ensure you are on the homepage)
Select the Account Icon next to the search bar
Click on “Manage Apps & device”
Select the “Manage” tab
All installed apps will be listed
To view uninstalled apps, tap “Installed” then tap “Not installed”.  Apps that have been removed from the device will be listed below

How can I prevent social media from distracting my kids from their homework?
DON’T:
Tell your kids only what not to do (without explaining why it’s important) 
Create the plan without their input
DO:
Work with your students to set screen time guidelines
Schedule screen time that works with your family
No devices during dinner or homework Create a tech-free hour before bed 

How do I protect my kids from inappropriate content online?
Start with a healthy dialogue about what good and bad parts of the internet look like
Remind your kids they can always come to you if they see anything inappropriate (and that you will listen and not judge them)
Teach them what advertisements are, how to be patient and wait for the ‘X’ when an online ad appears, so they don’t get distracted
Set parental controls through Apple Screen Time or Android Digital Wellbeing
Be careful when letting younger kids watch videos unattended for too long without supervision

How can I teach my kids to use social media in a positive way?
Give your student a purpose on social media
Teach your students to use social media to highlight their school projects, hobbies, volunteer work, or family photos
Consider working with your student to determine 3 things they want to be known for when colleges or employers search for them online
Teach kids that the “internet is forever” and even disappearing messages can be saved Talk with your kids about online bullying, what it looks like, and how the consequences can be the same or worse than bullying in person
“If you wouldn’t say something to someone’s face, should you write it online?”

What can I do if my kid is being cyberbullied?
Be supportive and remind them you are here to help them
Avoid minimizing, rationalizing, or explaining bullying behavior 
Teach them to report bullying on the app or to a trusted adult 
Work with them to try and solve the problem together

How do I know who my kids are talking to online? 
It’s almost impossible to know…But, talk with your students about who they are talking to online
Discuss whether apps that allow talking to strangers are appropriate for your family
Be on the same apps that your children use Set up your own accounts on the same social media networks and monitor their activity
Know where the private messaging feature is on their favorite apps

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What Attendees & Members Are Saying

The SmartSocial programs teach adults the essentials of social media and how to work with students to stay safe online.

Quotation marks

Good info for any parent or educator who wants to learn about the 30 bad apps for teens. Keep up the good work!

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Kristen J.

Parent Webinar Attendee

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Thanks for the program. Tons of great info that can help me keep my students safe.

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Cindy T.

Parent Webinar Attendee

Quotation marks

Josh's presentation about social media was unbelievably fantastic. Our students learned so much about what kids should and shouldn't be doing. The fact that it is such a thoughtful process made it all worthwhile.

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Director of College Advising

Educator Webinar Attendee

Quotation marks

This webinar is a very helpful eye-opener on the apps that are popular with my students.

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Irene C.

Educator Webinar Attendee

Quotation marks

You hear all of these things about what kids are doing online and it was great to understand the things that are hidden behind the scenes on these popular apps. We are definitely better off now. Thank you for the presentation.

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Dad

Parent Webinar Attendee

Quotation marks

I really love the emphasis on having a dialogue. This presentation gives parents the tools to be able to communicate with their children effectively about what matters most. 

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Catholic Sister

Educator Webinar Attendee

Quotation marks

I'm a counselor and Josh's presentation was fabulous and very very informative.

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Counselor

Educator Webinar Attendee

Quotation marks

This is great info, thanks for giving me some ideas on how to start a dialogue with my teen!

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Sharon M.

Parent Webinar Attendee

Quotation marks

I watched this presentation because I don't know anything about social media. Now I can teach my kids.

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Mom

Parent Webinar Attendee