Age limits on social media sites intended to keep pre-teens off aren’t working, as kids either fib or simply migrate to new social media apps.
Over half of children (59%) have
joined a social network by the age of 10, the survey found. In terms of specific sites, Facebook is the clear winner, with 52% of British kids ages eight to 16 saying they had lied about their age to
join the network. WhatsApp wasn’t far behind at 40%, followed by SnapChat with 11% and Ask.fm with 8%. The findings are per a new survey of 1,004 British children ages eight to 16 by Knowthenet,
an online safety advisory organization in the UK.
Almost a quarter (24%) of respondents reported using the BlackBerry Messenger service (BBM), reflecting the continued popularity of
BlackBerry devices among teens in Britain.
Kids being kids (i.e., stupid) the survey uncovered a good amount of misbehavior: 21% of the survey respondents say they had posted negative
comments, while 26% said they had hijacked someone else’s account to post damaging content.
Perhaps more alarming for parents and teachers, 43% of respondents ages 12+ said they had
exchanged messages with strangers. No surprise, an additional survey of parents found that a mere 32% said they feel “very confident” about their ability to keep their kids safe online.
In juxtaposition with previous studies, this data suggests a rapid rise in the number of pre-teens (specifically, under-10s) who are using social media in just the last few years.
Back in October 2012, a survey of over 25,000 European kids by the London School of Economics’ EU Kids Online project found that 28% of British children ages 9-10 have a profile on
an online social network, with the majority using Facebook. Putting these numbers together, the proportion of kids under age 10 using social media has more than doubled over the last year and a half