OPINION

ON A KINDER NOTE with Dolly's Dream | You can be social and still be safe

Social media can be a wonderful way to connect with the people we love and share messages of hope and encouragement. But it can also be used to cause harm.

We encourage families to explore the privacy settings of social media apps, and to talk about:

- Who can see your name, profile picture, bio and posts?

- Can you turn off the location function?

- Can you choose to be contacted by friends only?

- Can people see your followers? (This gives clues about who your 'real life' friends are.)

- Do you know how to turn off or filter comments, and unfollow, mute, block and report people?

It's also important to understand who uses the app and why. Check out the reviews on Australia's eSafety Guide and Common Sense Media.

- Which age group is it aimed at?

- Is there a lot of risky content - eg self-harm, eating disorders, porn?

- Is anonymity a big reason people like the app?

- Are your teens using the app because they want lots of likes, or because they believe it will make them famous? If so, keep talking with them about the real things that make our lives valuable and meaningful.

Go to dollysdream.org.au to learn about online safety, social networking, privacy, gaming and much more.