Most of us live our lives in the digital world now but sometimes the more time we spend online the worse we feel. From filters and fake news, to addictive apps and all-powerful algorithms; there’s a lot for us to navigate. If you’ve ever wondered why your phone is so hard to put down, who controls what you see on the web, how to avoid fake news, or why social media platforms are so good at keeping us hooked, then this is the place for you!

We are here to help you to make safe and healthy choices about how you spend time online. We have heaps of tips and tricks for keeping yourself sane and creating healthy digital habits and we hope that you’ll get in touch and share your ideas with us too.

Soon we’ll be posting a weekly blog about digital health and wellbeing. Each one includes activities and advice for navigating a particularly tricky part of the online world. Stay tuned and check out our blog here

Get involved by checking out our Instagram page and getting in touch with us – we’d love to hear your suggestions/questions.

Our ZOOM Instagram account is run by youth workers from the YMCA. You’ll see them posting and replying to people on Instagram, and in videos we post – so you’ll get to know who they are. The hosts all work for the YMCA but are not counsellor and they can’t offer counselling. Our hosts aren’t there all the time and can’t always reply straight away, so it’s better to contact a Childline or Kooth counsellor if you need support.

No. It is important that you know our Instagram is public, so anything you post could be read by anyone. Anyone who sees your post will be able to see your profile picture and name.

If you share anything with us on social media that makes us think you or someone else is in danger, we may need to pass this onto the NSPCC helpline and our YMCA safeguarding team. They may need to tell someone like the police or social services to help protect you.

We might think you’re unsafe if you:

● tell us you’ve run away
● are being abused or hurt by someone else
● have been harming yourself or thinking about suicide.

If you’re going through any of this, it’s important to speak to a Childline or Kooth counsellor and get support. It’s confidential and you can talk about absolutely anything.

We want to make sure nothing is shared on our Instagram that could put you in danger so we have written some rules to make sure everyone can contribute safely.

We may delete comments that mention:

● Attending YMCA youth clubs: It’s okay to say that you’ve been to youth clubs in the past as long as you don’t give any detail that could tell people where you go or where you live.

● You or someone else being harmed: This includes a comment about you or someone else being abused or neglected – now or in the past. We won’t be able to keep any of these comments confidential.

● Self-harm or suicidal behaviour: It’s okay to post about these things, but we’ll take down any posts that make you vulnerable. We also can’t keep these comments confidential.

● Personal details: This includes personal information about you or other people, like your phone, school or email. It’s okay to share a general place you live, like a city, but not things like a park or small town.

● Events you’re going to: Posting that you’re going to a gig, for example, could put you at risk. This includes posting about plans to meet up with people.

● Unsuitable websites or hashtags: Talking about things that are helpful for young people is great, but any sites or that link to inappropriate or unsafe material have to be deleted.

● Comments that show you’re under 13: Instagram only allows people over 13 to have accounts.

We can only delete comments after they have been posted. So please be extra careful about what you say.

House rules

We want to make sure everyone can get involved in discussions and share their ideas respectfully. To make sure our Instagram account is friendly and welcoming, we delete anything that could upset other people. This includes:

● comments about hurting other people (or wanting to hurt them)
● personal insults or threats
● bullying or aggressive comments
● racist, sexist, homophobic or transphobic comments
● swearing
● linking to something inappropriate or offensive.

If people continue to post content that we need to delete because it breaks our house rules and could upset people, we will block users from accessing YWO social media accounts.

There are many organisations who can assist you with the many different challenges you may be facing. To find out more about some of the service you can contact please click here