Question: What percent of children aged 10 to 12 in the UK have social media accounts?
Answer: 78% – That is despite rules saying that you need to be 13-years-old or over to sign up
The reason that social media websites claim to set these age limits is to protect the younger generation from cyber bullying and anything else that might make them feel uncomfortable.
Among 13- to 18-year-olds, 96% claim to be signed up to the main social networks such as Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and Whatsapp. This goes to show how popular these types of websites are, specifically to the younger generations.
Most user’s social media experiences of were positive, however, specifically for the older children, online networks can be used for more destructive purposes, such as cyber-bullying and “trolling”.
Among 16 to 18 year olds, two in five admitted to using social media to spread gossip, and a quarter had used it to say something unkind or rude to someone else. More than half of these older children had claimed to have witnessed online bullying at some point in their life.
Facebook is the most popular social media site for under-13s, with a whopping 49% of the under-age children claiming to be regular users.
I do admit, I also used Facebook alongside other social media sites regularly when I was under the age of 13, and I have to say that neither myself or my parents had any idea about the age rules!
Sites such as Instagram are urging its users to use the in-app tools to help report people who are under the age of 13 in order to keep the community safe.
Google is trying to bring these issues to light by marketing “Safer Internet Day” and launching an online safety roadshow.
They aim to reach 10,000 primary school children this year. The point they are trying to get across to them is that the internet is a great place for education, creativity and entertainment, but children need the right skills to navigate the web and stay safe online.
What are your views on this? Do you think the age restrictions on social media websites are justified?
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