Remind them that if personal information is not protected then it creates risk that others, including strangers can find out where they are, use their private information to hack into their computer or profile accounts and steal their identity and other valuable information.
They may open themselves up to being impersonated online, where someone can cyberbully or reveal unwanted information, and send threats, mean messages or embarrassing photos as if the child themselves were engaging in this activity. Let them know that once their personal information is made public, it is almost impossible to control or get back.
If you are worried your child will be left out but also concerned that they aren't ready, you can compromise by letting them have social networking accounts if they follow strict rules—including only using sites when you supervise them or you control their login. In return, you may promise not to comment publicly on their profile or posts.
It is possible your child may experience some form of online harassment. It is important that you know how to manage and report this behaviour. If not, together with your child visit the safety centre of the site they are on to ensure they know how to block and report people. A comprehensive list of site safety centres can be found on the Social media services' safety centres page.
It is important to supervise your child’s activity so discuss with your child about how they would like to monitor their online social activity. It may be tricky having this conversation, particularly with teens, but it is important to gain their agreement with the monitoring option you eventually choose.
This could include being their 'friend' or having access to their login details, but be prepared to learn more than you might like about their friends – try to withhold comment unless you are worried about safety, rather talk to your child if you have concerns as it can cause them embarrassment and break their trust, or may prompt them to use a separate profile without your knowledge.