Social Media & Young Kids – do you know what your kids are up to?

Disclaimer #1:  This article contains personal opinions and it’s purpose is to raise awareness to other parents after recent experiences…reading this may make some parents feel uncomfortable and they might think I’m being judgmental…please know that this is not my intent.

Disclaimer #2:  I live and breathe social media – we have managed & trained others in multiple social platforms across many businesses over the last decade.  “Mum’s not playing on her phone, Mum is working!”

Disclaimer #3:  I am also a Mum of two vivacious, confident & independent girls – aged 11 & 8.

Disclaimer #4:  I’m in no way suggesting parents don’t allow their younger kids on socials, I love some of the content put out there! This is a personal opinion story with a few key messages for EVERY parent.

Ok…let’s begin…

“Mum, can I get Instagram?”

“Mum, can I download Tik Tok?”

“Mum, can I use Snap Chat?”

“Mum, ALL my friends have them!!!”

This article starts with the app Tik Tok – Do your kids use it?

Rewind a few years ago – there was an app on the scene called – the kids were raving about it, this was more than a game, this was FUN – the kids posted short and sometimes hilarious videos and music clips – they practiced dances and acted out funny short skits.  Perfect for my music/dancing/acting loving little girl.  I did my research and set my daughter up with tight privacy settings and we had our first discussions around cyber safety.  After a few months, I became uncomfortable with the platform – she was getting ‘requests’ from strangers and I could also see that she was wanting to spend more and more time ‘doing’ the little clips.  We removed the app and she was back playing Subway Surfer & watching Kids You Tube in her allocated ipad time.

Then last year – changed over to Tik Tok (The app was acquired by Chinese company ByteDance in November 2017) and now ‘ALL’ her friends were using it – I said that we would take another look now that she was a bit older.  We went to sign in and a warning popped up that it was a 13+ App.  Oh well…that was easy!

“Sorry honey, you are not old enough to use this app yet”

“But Muuuuuuum – literally ALL my friends have it!” (huge exaggeration – she was 10!)

“Is it ok to lie about your age to get into it? Is lying ok?” SHUTDOWN.  I have a little giggle when I think about this one – this suited ME – in all my training and social networks, I was leaning towards saying no anyway – this saved me an argument.

Over the last few years, I will often sit down with our girls and ‘play’ on social media – we look up cooking videos on Instagram, 5 minute Crafts on Facebook, have fun will hilarious filters on Snap Chat and do some cool videos for YouTube-  this is all through our business profiles and all supervised.

Our business has most of the socials covered – however, at a recent Social Media event I attended, Tik Tok was suggested as a great tool for business so we jumped right in!  I was also happy,  as this would mean that the girls could have a PLAY on this platform too.  I was also hoping that this would stop the weekly questions: “Mum, can I please get Tik Tok!”

What happened next was ALARMING!

We logged in, Ashlee showed me a few tricks that she remembered from a few years ago and from playing on the app at friends houses.  We had a BLAST. It was so much fun and I would say is was actually quality family time as we all practiced the Git up Dance and posted our first Tik Tok.

We then started scrolling through some of the people she knew and also some kids of people I know. GULP.  This brings me to the first main point of this story…


I was shocked that I could see so many kids accounts!? I could watch their videos, I could even message them directly! But I was not me? I was representing a platform – I could have been ANYONE! ALARM BELLS!  As I was scrolling it was becoming clearer and clearer to me that there was a reason this app was for 13+ and there is a massive risk of exposing children to explicit and disturbing content.  Do my kids really need to see all that at 8 and 11 years? Plenty of time for that when they are older?!

Later that night I found myself drowning in a sea of kids videos, aged between 7 and 12, with PUBLIC profiles – I COULD WATCH EVERYTHING!…while there were some clips that were very funny and clever, this was overshadowed by, predominately girls, being self obsessed bitches! Blunt but true!

  • Girls posting close up selfies and trying to pout and look sexy! Over and over and over again. I get that this is what the kids do these days, but 20+ times a day?!
  • Girls lip syncing to sexually explicit songs
  • Girls shaming themselves “I’m so ugly”
  • Kids BEGGING for likes! “Please like this post, please comment, please make me feel special”
  • Girls being mean – “If you know these girls (names listed) DO NOT LIKE THEM” “These girls are not my BFF’s” *a good friend made an great point on this “just because a child might not have a social media type account, does not exclude them from being mean to others, telling friends in the playground who they can/cannot talk to, or dressing inappropriately in public”

I came across a friends daughters account – it was public for the world to see – and I was horrified at what I saw, I immediately picked up the phone and called.  Not only was her daughter posting clips in her underwear with ‘bits’ sometimes showing (oblivious…), but she was also ‘friends’ with accounts that had names like “F&^K U BITCHES” PLUS…she was being cruel and saying mean things about another girl at her school and tagging in everyone she knows so they would see it too.  She is only 9 years old!

Her mum had NO IDEA! She went straight to her daughters iPod and opened Tik Tok.  She watched her daughters videos, she read all the messages…

She started sobbing ☹ She was devastated and felt so ashamed that she had not been taking more notice.

This brings me to my next point:



This article is NOT about other parents who let their kids have social media – we all have different rules in our homes.  I completely understand that socials are here and they are here to stay!  My girls are splashed across ALL our socials – however, it is all very controlled – not by them, but by us.

For me, at this point, I don’t think my girls are mature enough to handle the responsibility of having their own social accounts. As mentioned above, this is about our experiences and I am in no way saying that young kids shouldn’t have access to these apps – many of my close friends let their kids have Tik Tok and that is AOK – the message is simply – if your younger kids are on socials – CHECK the privacy settings and CHECK what they are posting.

When my daughters ask for these socials, I always ask them WHY? Why do you want them? Then I share with them WHY we use our socials – to communicate with our community, to educate, to inspire, to say something!

When I discussed this article with a few in my network, it was clear that there are risks for young kids with the other platforms too – CHECK THE PRIVACY SETTINGS!

“It’s not the posts that I worry about, my son takes gorgeous photos for Instagram, it’s the messages I worry about”

“SnapChat is the worst! They can snap, send it out to the world and then it is gone – but you don’t know what goes out there?!”

“My younger kids have Tik Tok & SnapChat, but so do I and if they ever post something inappropriate they bloody hear about it!”

“Geez, THANK YOU for sending me this – I just checked and 1 of my kids is private but the other one isn’t, not sure how that happened, but it is fixed now.”

“Snapchat has a location filter…make sure that is turned off!”

I will continue to ‘play’ with them on our business accounts and educate them on social etiquette.  I know I have such a short period of time before they head off and have to handle it all themselves – high school is just around the corner and with that will come Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat…and when that day comes, they will be my ‘friend’, they will be kind and I will ‘follow’ them closely!  There might be some parents reading this shaking their heads thinking “Good luck with that!”…all we can do is TRY…

Back to the TWO MAIN POINTS:  If your young kids have social media accounts:






Thoughts? Experiences? We would love to hear from you…

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