Talk to your child

The world is a very different place to the one most parents experienced when they were growing up. The internet and social media have brought huge positives and huge dilemmas for both young people and their parents.

The speed at which the internet and social media changes and develops is difficult to keep up with, even if you are using it constantly on a daily basis, as most children and young people do. It is the way they interact and communicate and is integral to their social, emotional and intellectual lives.

While the internet has given children and young people immediate, unprecedented access to a wealth of information, it has also meant that they have access to information which may be detrimental to their mental and physical health, social development and well-being.

Peer pressure has always been a factor of growing up, but with the addition of social media and the internet, the pressure can be unrelenting, long term and from a wide range of individuals, both known and unknown. For some young people, this can be overwhelming, humiliating and intolerable. 

Other aspects of peer pressure can mean that a child or young person feels that they have to try things like drugs/legal highs, or that they have to be involved in sexual activity such as ‘sexting’. For some young people, the pressure may even lead them into even more risky situations and becoming vulnerable to exploitation.

What can I do as a parent?

  • Get yourself up to date with the internet, social media and facts about drugs, so you can talk with your child or teenager with more confidence and help them to be aware of the risks. 
  • The quality of your relationship with your child is the most important thing that will help you and them manage any concerns they have. Be approachable and supportive; let them know from a very young age that they can talk to you about anything. Research shows that from about 9 years onwards, children experiment and experience peer pressure and this may include curiosity about sex and drugs. 
  • Help them develop strategies to manage peer pressure and keep safe.