Underage Social Media Usage ‘On the Rise’ Says Ofcom



/ 8 months ago

ofcom

Ofcom report finds that despite most social media sites having age restrictions, the number of accounts below this age is growing

I consider myself somewhat fortunate that growing up I didn’t do so in tandem with Facebook. I imagine being a teenager, particularly at school can be quite challenging on social media. At least for me, whatever happened at school, at 3:25 pm it ended and tomorrow was, after all, another day.

With cyber-bullying and other online problems (such as child groomers), most social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter have a minimum age to set up an account. Generally speaking, you must at least be 13 years old to create an account. While this doesn’t necessarily prevent cyber-bullying, which incidentally I think is a major problem both children and teens face today, it does at least protect younger children.

In a report via the BBC, however, Ofcom research has found that user accounts for pre-teens are on the rise.

It’s not easy, but…

As a parent (and uncle many times over) myself, I know the difficulties of adolescent kids. I’m not so old that I can’t remember just what a know it all obnoxious turd I was at that age. Incidentally, since this time some would argue that very little has changed. The bottom line is, however, that if you have an 11-year-old and they have a friend who is on social media, your 11-year-old is going to want to be so as well. If you outright say no, you invite the possibility of them creating an account behind your back which in itself opens up a lot of worrying doors.

What is clear, however, is that social media is either turning a blind eye or simply doesn’t care. Considering their due diligence done if anything does go wrong they can hold their hands up and say ‘hey! We have a minimum age policy!’

We are unfortunately a little lagging behind other countries in regards to online protection of children. New Zealand, for example, recently made cyber-bullying outright illegal.

I’m not sure that there is an easy fix for this, but if pre-teens on social media are growing in number, I just hope parents are being even more vigilant.

What do you think? Is there a solution to this? Should social media sites step up their efforts or is it the job of the parents? – Let us know in the comments!

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