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.

GMC guidance

BMA guidance

Impact of screen time on children and young people 

The RCPCH are writing a guide for parents and clinicians on the health impacts of screen time, due for publication in early 2019.

This will be based on the current available evidence base. It will 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.

To find out more about this report, please contact our Health Policy team on health.policy@rcpch.ac.uk.

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, please use the below links to resources developed by the National Crime Agency/ChildLine/Child Exploitation and Online Protection Command. Each has age/role appropriate information on the risks, how to stay safe, professionals briefings, training and more.

NSPCC and O2 have created the Net Aware website for parents/carers and those supporting them about apps, games and online communities that children and young people use. It 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 also have a set of resources, videos, templates and training on staying safe online for children, young people, families and professionals. This includes being Share Aware, how to set up parent controls, remaining focused on being a “TEAM” (talk, explore, agree, manage) and where to go for support.