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If your kids have access to social media, these 9 must-watch videos are for you

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Do your kids know about digital privacy, and what happens to their data online? Are they aware of why cyberbullying is so common, and what social media actually does to their brains?

If your kids have access to social media or smartphones, these topics are crucial to address. But while these ongoing conversations are necessary, your kids don’t just want to hear you talk about online safety — plus, you may not be an expert yourself. Sometimes you need something (or someone) else to open up the discussion.

So here are some engaging videos that you can watch with teens, tweens, and older elementary kiddos. The messages are not only research-based but they’re also delivered in innovative, kid-friendly ways. Plus, keep scrolling for some extra resources for parents.

Online safety videos to watch with kids and teens

Many social media platforms require users to be 13 to have an account. Meanwhile, the U.S. Surgeon General has said that 13 is “too early” to be on social media. Either way, kids and families can boost their awareness about what these age recommendations mean. This video, ​​When Is Your Brain Ready for Social Media?, makes the debate super compelling for kids (and adults!) while teaching us about the scientific research behind social media and developing brains.

Social media is a place for joy and connection, but it’s also a place where kids and teens can encounter frequent cyberbullying. Help kids become kinder and smarter online by delving into why bullies and trolls often hide behind online accounts. This video by the same Above the Noise host, Myles Bess, addresses the question: Does the Internet Make You Meaner?

Be sure to check out the rest of the video series on digital citizenship and media literacy from Above the Noise, KQED, and Common Sense Education. Also see these additional videos on video game addiction and whether you can trust YouTube influencers.

Are you and your kids aware that everything you do online becomes a data trail that tells corporations and others a story about you? Sometimes that info can be useful, and sometimes it can be used to trick and manipulate you. Here’s a music video episode from the Tuff Pupil series that breaks down the basics of data.

Be sure to watch other episodes of the fun animated series on online safety topics like data, privacy, and trust created by the Lawrence Hall of Science, Alphabet Rockers, and UC Berkeley.

Especially if you have teens, you know that your kids would rather listen to people their own age talk. So cue this video of teens talking frankly about oversharing on social media and how much is too much.

If that one hit the sweet spot, be sure to browse the rest of Common Sense Education’s video series on digital literacy designed for grades 6 and up!

Important online safety tips for parents

Kids and teens aren’t the only ones who need advice. The job of staying on top of your kids’ devices and online activities — while knowing the right thing to say to your child — can be extremely challenging for parents!

The following videos offer some useful scripts for any parent who struggles with what to say to keep their kids safe online. Remember that the goal is to keep the lines of communication open with your child.

How to react when your kid sees something inappropriate online:

If you ever catch your child taking nudes:

When your kid is making new friends — online:

Finally, all parents should be aware of some of the serious health and safety risks that come along with social media. These videos contain disturbing content, so be sure to preview them by yourself first.

Keeping kids safe from drugs online (Trigger Warning: death, drug use):

The dangers of unrealistic beauty standards and dieting content on social media (Trigger Warning: body appearance, eating disorder):

Find more comprehensive online safety information in our resource hub for social media sexual exploitation prevention and response and our online safety hub with scripts and tips for difficult conversations about digital dangers and staying safe in online spaces.

Joanna Eng is a staff writer and digital content specialist at ParentsTogether. She lives with her wife and two kids in New York, where she loves to hike, try new foods, and check out way too many books from the library.