Online Safety and the Impact of Social Media

graphic of social media and related language

The internet is an ever increasing and influential part of all our lives; personally, professionally and within families. Especially among young people, the internet has become the tool for learning, communication, self-expression and the forming of personal identity and peer groups. It is therefore necessary for parents, teachers and others involved with children and young people to educate on online and social media safety, and the wider risks and responsibilities of using the internet.

What is online safety?

The internet is a useful and entertaining tool, but it’s important for young people to be savvy about the risks and dangers that are present online. Online safety involves being aware of risks and issues such as:

  • the viewing of inappropriate content – like gambling sites, sites that encourage self-harm, games and films with age restrictions and pornographic websites
  • grooming – where children are befriended by someone online who gains their trust in order to exploit or abuse them
  • sharing personal information – making sensitive information or images available to strangers

Online safety is all about equipping users to understand the risks and protect themselves online.

What is social media safety?

Social media sites can feel like a safe place to chat, make new friends and share information, and young people often end up being “friends” online with people they don’t know in real life. But sharing a profile or other information in this way puts young people at risk of grooming, cyber bullying and stalking. Having a good understanding of social media safety is vital for children and young people, as well as the adults who monitor their internet and phone use.

The AC Education online safety and impact of social media course addresses the important aspect of resilience in social media usage. The course will cover how to help young people develop their own coping strategies if they become bothered by a particular situation they experience online. The course teaches techniques for children to evaluate how their coping strategy helps. We focus on resilience: the ability to deal with negative experiences online or offline. We identify which children are most vulnerable in terms of harm experienced from online risks. We also identify which factors make some children more likely to use positive coping strategies that help them solve the problem and provide vital emotional support.

Our course will share specific cases where young people have been confronted with online bullying or sexting, and how some children higher in self-efficacy employ more proactive coping strategies. It has been observed that girls, younger children and children with psychological problems are more likely to remain passive or fatalistic. Online and offline vulnerability in young people are proven to be related. Children with psychological issues are often more susceptible to both offline and online problems, referred to as the ‘double jeopardy effect’. This is because the emotional and social difficulties that children face in their offline lives tend to be replicated and even exacerbated in their online lives. Several recommendations are offered to help children improve their online resilience.

About the course

This course provides a basic outline of online safety and the rise of social media.

What it covers:

This course covers the following topics:

  • Risks
  • Social media safety
  • Gaming
  • Internet Safety
  • Sexting
  • Grooming
  • Pornography
  • Safeguarding
  • Cyber bullying and stalking
  • CEOP (Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre)


This course meets the Training, Support and Development Standards as outlined in The Fostering Services (England) Regulations (2011).

More information

For more information on the Online and Social Media Safety e-learning course, please contact us using the contact form and we will call you back. We also offer this topic as a face-to-face course.

Download our prospectus to read more about the courses on offer at AC Education.

You can also email us at or call 01923 850408.

Learning outcomes

On completing the course, participants will:

  • Understand the rise of digital media and social networking
  • Understand the risks involved: online sex abuse, pornography, ‘sexting’, ‘grooming’, cyber-bullying and addiction
  • Know the guidelines for responsible internet use
  • Understand digital trends and behaviour amongst young people and their possible psychological consequences
  • Understand the impact of Internet pornography on children and young people
  • Understand how to support young people become more resilient and deal with negative experience online
  • Have a knowledge of socio-economic factors that influence internet use and social media safety
  • Demonstrate a thorough knowledge of statutory guidance and e-safety
  • Know about useful organisations and research that has informed the course content
  • Take a global perspective on online and social media safety.

Additional Information

This course is also available tailored to the Education Sector

Course rating

I have taken lots and lots of e-courses through work and this is the best by far that I have accessed with much more relevant information and the test at the end being more thorough than is normal. I thoroughly enjoyed the course. Thanks.

Foster carer, Carmarthenshire
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