Social media guidance

Online interactions and use of social media are certainly not new, but we have put together some references to support our members' work in this area. These cover doctors' use of social media, the impact of screen time on children and young people as well as resources for parents, carers and young people to stay safe online.

Guidance for doctors

There are many benefits to using social media channels. You may find them a useful way to network and support peers and to share ideas, good practice and knowledge. You may want to follow debates and campaign on issues important to you.

As with any offline interactions, you should be mindful of following good practice principles. The General Medical Council and British Medical Association have each produced guidance on doctors' use of social media, including the benefits of social media and how to stay professional and protect privacy, as well as advice on online abuse and harassment.

We have put together a short guide for members on use of WhatsApp if you are involved in supporting the College's work, which you can download below. 

Impact of screen time on children and young people 

In January 2019, we published guides for parents and clinicians on the health impacts of screen time [these guides are no longer available]. These are based on the current available evidence base, and set recommendations for clinicians on how to discuss screen time with families and include practical tips for families if they want to reduce their screen time.

Resources for parents, carers, children and young people

If you are concerned about how to talk with children, young people, family members or colleagues on keeping safe online, you can use the below links to resources developed by the National Crime Agency/ChildLine/Child Exploitation and Online Protection Command. Each has age or role-appropriate information on the risks and how to stay safe, including professionals' briefings, training and more.

Net Aware, created by NSPCC and O2, helps parents/carers and those supporting them understand more about the apps, games and online communities that children and young people use. The website looks at the potential risks and how to stay safe. It reviews each online platform for age appropriateness and content, explains why children and young people access them and gives tips such as making the most of the settings.

NSPCC's resources, videos, templates and training on staying safe online are for children, young people, families and professionals. They include being "Share Aware", how to set up parent controls, how to be a “TEAM” (talk, explore, agree, manage) and where to go for support.